South Ferry Dock and eroding shoreline at the north end of Ocracoke Island.

An emergency permit to address an urgent situation at the South Dock Ferry Terminal on the north end of Ocracoke Island has been issued by the NC Division of Coastal Management to the NC Department of Transportation.

            This emergency major permit, under the Coastal Area Management Act, authorizes NCDOT to construct an approximately 1000-linear-foot bulkhead to protect against severe shoreline erosion that is a growing threat to the ferry terminal basin and stacking lanes.

            The ferry terminal is a vital transportation link between Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands, and a crucial part of hurricane evacuation routes.

            Bulkhead construction is expected to begin around July 10 and take approximately one month to complete.

            Due to the urgency of the situation, Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan initially authorized the emergency permit in March, then reauthorized the action on June 4 following project design changes.

            The bulkhead is the initial phase of a broader, long-range NCDOT plan to address shoreline erosion at the site, for which the National Park Service is accepting public comment.

            NCDOT’s proposed action is to utilize the newly permitted 1000-foot long bulkhead and to construct groins interspersed with submerged concrete structures to further protect the eroding shoreline around the ferry stacking lanes.

            The use of both barge mounted pile driving equipment and land-based equipment is proposed for construction. NCDOT would like to begin construction in the spring of 2020.

            An Environmental Assessment (EA) will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The EA will document the effects of the NCDOT proposed action to the resources within the project area to determine what action the National Park Service will authorize NCDOT to perform for shoreline protection. Resource issues and topics may include coastal shoreline processes, human health and safety, wildlife habitat, submerged aquatic vegetation, water resources and visitor experience.

            The Seashore will take public comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha_shoreline_protection from June 20 through July 22 on the proposed project. Comments can also be mailed to Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.

            It is anticipated that the EA will be available for public review and comment in the fall of 2019.

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