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Emerald Isle eyes federal fund source for stormwater management improvement project

This town of Emerald Isle map shows the area of a stormwater project for which town officials might seek federal Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities funds. (Brad Rich screenshot)

Posted on September 16, 2021

EMERALD ISLE —Town commissioners Tuesday night will consider a staff proposal to apply for federal Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities funds for a major stormwater management improvement project.

The monthly session of the board of commissioners will begin at 6 p.m. in the meeting room beside the police department and online.

According to the meeting agenda, the funds the town would seek would be for a stormwater project to reduce or eliminate future flooding risk and damages in Deerhorn Dunes, Pebble Beach, the Holiday Trav-L Park, Queens Court condominiums and Boardwalk RV Park and the Western Ocean Regional Access, all in the flood-prone western end of town.

In a memo to the board, town manager Matt Zapp said that if the town receives BRIC funds, officials will try to partner with N.C. State University to use “a proven approach to discharge stormwater by way of natural filtration” in oceanfront sand dunes and would align the technique with the town’s existing hazard mitigation and stormwater pumping plan.

The town has state approval, in certain flooding conditions, to pump stormwater into oceanfront dunes.

The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, grant program was created as part of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018. The idea is to fund projects that provide “innovative approaches to partnerships, such as shared funding mechanisms and/or project design.”

According to Mr. Zapp’s memo, the total value of buildings and land in the anticipated project area is $228.9 million, including $137.5 million for the homes and businesses in area along Coast Guard Road, Ocean Drive and Reed Drive from just east of Sand Castle Drive to west of Islander Drive, the location of the Western Ocean Regional Access.

In order to be considered for BRIC funding, the town must submit a letter of intent the Federal Emergency Management Agency no later than Friday, Oct. 1.

Mr. Zapp’s memo adds that, “A series of other projects and concepts could be fleshed out,” and that a joint project with N.C. State University “appears to be the greatest potential for funding.”

Mr. Zapp recommends the board authorize the staff to submit the letter of intent.

Emerald Isle has been grappling with stormwater problems, particularly in the Coast Guard Road corridor, for many years, and has developed with consultants from Moffatt & Nichol engineers a stormwater management plan that divides proposals into specific project areas.

Officials have been hoping to receive FEMA money for projects.

Although the town already has an extensive stormwater drainage system for the flood-prone Coast Guard Road corridor, and there are private systems in some developments, town planning director Josh Edmondson told the board earlier this year too much flooding still occurs even after thunderstorms, not just tropical storms and hurricanes.

To register to view the meeting Tuesday night online, go to:

To view the full agenda packet for the meeting, go to:,-2021-toei-boc-agenda-packet.pdf


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