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Town receives coastal community grant

BELHAVEN – The town of Belhaven has been awarded a grant through the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management and the Resilient Coastal Communities Program. 

The grant received through this program is available to municipalities located in all 20 coastal counties in the state and has four specific phases, with the first phase, community engagement and risk and vulnerability assessment and the second phase, planning, project selection and prioritization both being available to applicants. 

“This initiative, funded through the N.C. State Legislature and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will provide funding to local governments to help overcome barriers in coastal resilience and adaptation planning, boost local government capacity, and support a proactive, sustainable, and equitable approach to coastal resilience planning and project implementation,” said the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality regarding the program.  

According to Davis, Belhaven plans to use the grant to assess and assist with drainage issues across the town. A previous study was done specifically focusing on Wynne’s Gut, a section of town that floods often after heavy rains. This new study will focus on the entire town and make a plan on how to mitigate the drainage problem going forward. 

“We are very excited because we’ve had Wynne’s Gut studied and some plans were developed for that area around 5 or 6 years ago,” Davis said. “Now we’re looking ahead to some of the other areas because our proximity to the water and our low base flood elevation cause concerns when we get heavy rains or any other severe weather event so we want to take a comprehensive look at our drainage system to determine the best next steps.”

In addition to providing the infrastructure to accomplish this task, the Resilient Coastal Communities Program also solicited applications from contractors to assist towns. Contractors and municipalities were matched based on the application and ultimate goal of the project. The Town of Belhaven’s recommended contractors are RK&K and the Mid-East Commission. 

“We have not used RK&K before but we are looking forward to working with them,” Davis said. “We have worked with Mid-East and they’re very familiar with our drainage issues.” 

The town is currently working with the DEQ and the Resilient Coastal Communities Program to set up the planned assessment of the drainage issues.