Local rivers being studied to prevent similar Hurricane Matthew flooding

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - After widespread devastation from Hurricane Matthew, North Carolina is using experts to study four rivers to help prevent future flooding.

Those rivers are the Cashie, Neuse, Tar and Lumber Rivers.

Governor Cooper says North Carolina is establishing advisory councils in the affected areas around those rivers.

The councils will include local leaders and will provide an opportunity for experts to work with flood-prone communities on ways to better prepare for and prevent flooding.

These flood mitigation studies will help the state learn more about the sources and severity of flooding, communicate with those in the surrounding areas who were heavily impacted by floods about strategies moving forward, and work with the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal partners to implement basin-specific mitigation measures recommended by the respective studies.

"Today's news is an important step to develop and maintain better defenses against natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew," said Senator Richard Burr. "Mitigation efforts will make it easier, faster and cheaper for North Carolina to bounce back from weather related events, especially in vulnerable areas like these four river basins. I'm pleased with this progress and look forward to working with state and local entities to begin these efforts."

The studies are all set to be completed in the spring.

Neuse River
North Carolina Emergency Management, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT), will lead a flood source and mitigation study of the Neuse River basin to be completed in early spring of 2018. The study will also put forward recommended mitigation strategies. North Carolina State University will partner with NCEM and other experts to coordinate with the US Highway 70 Corridor Commission and communities in the Neuse River basin.

Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) has been awarded a $500,000 grant by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to catalogue all existing information on dam systems throughout the basin, and integrate this information into a hydrologic and hydraulic model. This model will further the experts' understanding of the effectiveness of these dams.

Tar River
North Carolina Emergency Management, in tandem with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT), will lead a basin-wide study of the Tar Riverto be completed in the spring of 2018.

Additionally, working with NC DOT, the engineer firm Moffat & Nichol is conducting an in-depth hydrology study of the section of the Tar River between Tarboro and Princeville. This study is scheduled to be complete in early 2018 and will inform Tarboro and Princeville about the causes of major flooding and the best strategies to mitigate future floods. This study will be incorporated into the larger Tar River study led by North Carolina Emergency Management.

Cashie River
Bertie County and the Town of Windsor are currently working with North Carolina State University on a hydrologic and hydraulic model and strategic mitigation study of the Cashie River. This study is funded through the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 (DRA-16) allocation to the Golden LEAF. The results of the study are expected to be available in early 2018.

Lumber River
North Carolina Emergency Management, working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT), will lead a basin-wide study of the Lumber Riverto be completed in the spring of 2018. The study will also put forward recommended mitigation strategies.

Recently, NCEM Risk Management completed a study on the flooding around the levee in Lumberton. This was a major source of flooding for properties and for I-95. The study generated five possible flood mitigation strategies for the City of Lumberton to consider, including the installation and operation of flood gates where there are openings around the levee. The results of the study are expected to be shared with the city soon.