RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that the Division of Water Quality is providing guidance on storm cleanup in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico buffers to inform citizens of exemptions to the buffer rules that will help homeowners, municipalities and foresters quickly complete removal of hurricane debris.
“It’s critical to our recovery effort that we cut through as much red tape as possible to help North Carolinians clean up following Hurricane Irene and get back to normal,” Perdue said. “I’ve asked my cabinet agencies to expedite hurricane recovery activities in all ways possible.”
The exemptions allow for clean-up of areas affected by the hurricane, including the use of mechanized equipment. Among the exempt activities that don’t require prior approval from the division are:
- Removal of debris;
- Pruning forest vegetation to remove hurricane-damaged tree branches;
- Removal of trees that are in danger of causing damage to dwellings or human life;
- Construction of temporary roads that disturb less than 2,500 square feet, provided the vegetation is restored within six months; and
- Rebuilding or replacing a hurricane-damaged structure under an emergency permit from the Division of Coastal Management.
Prior written approval from DWQ will be needed for:
- Work to protect a structure, facility or streambank if the activity involves additional disturbance of the riparian buffer area or stream channel;
- Streambank stabilization activities (approvals may be granted by the Division of Coastal Management in coastal counties); and
- Construction of temporary roads greater than 2,500 square feet.
These written approvals will be expedited and processed as quickly as possible by DWQ central and regional offices.
Impacts to wetlands and streams beyond the scope of the Neuse or Tar-Pamlico Riparian Buffer Rules, including the use of heavy equipment in wetlands, may require coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The guidance document with additional information about exemptions and complete contact information can be found on the DWQ website under the Hot Topics area of the home page at: http://www.ncwaterquality.org.