Coastal Management responds to Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene caused widespread damage in coastal North Carolina this August, and Coastal Management staff
Documenting the damage Hurricane Irene left behind is an important part of the recovery effort. In this photo, DCM field representative Heather Styron photographs a dock on the Newport River that was damaged during Hurricane Irene.
quickly went into high gear to help property owners begin assessing and repairing storm damage.
Immediately following the storm, DCM staff members were out in the field assessing damage. On the Monday following the hurricane, the division was able to work with DENR Secretary Dee Freeman to immediately implement the emergency CAMA general permit to assist property owners in repairing hurricane damage. The general permit allows DCM to quickly issue CAMA permits for repairing or replacing docks, piers, bulkheads or other structures damaged or destroyed by the storm, and also waives the fee for those permits.
As of late October, DCM had issued 375 emergency general permits for Irene damage repair, and authorized an additional 400 repairs that did not require a CAMA permit.
DCM permitting staff worked closely with the state Department of Transportation to develop a strategy for dealing with the inlet breaches that the hurricane opened on Hatteras Island and Pea Island, and were able to issue emergency permits for N.C. Hwy. 12 repairs the same day staff received the formal request from DOT. In addition, staff worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on a consistency concurrence to ensure temporary FEMA trailers for hurricane victims would be placed consistent with Coastal Resources Commission rules.
Fortunately, most of the division offices were not significantly damaged by the storm. However, the Kitty Hawk Reserve office was flooded and did sustain major damage. This office is leased through the town of Kitty Hawk, and town staff are conducting repairs.
Five reserve sites were closed during and after the storm until staff could ensure the sites were safe for the public: Currituck Banks, Kitty Hawk Woods, Buxton Woods, Buckridge and Rachel Carson. All reserves are now open with the exception of the Buxton Woods Reserve on Hatteras Island, which remains closed until roads can be cleared.
Downed trees along roads and trails were common at the Currituck Banks, Buckridge and Kitty Hawk Woods reserves. Staff from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the town of Kitty Hawk, and local volunteers helped staff clear the roads and trails. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.