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Cashie River

 
 
 

Preliminary Cashie Flood Mitigation Study

 

Monday’s Bertie County Board of Commissioners regular meeting included the initial report for the Cashie River Flood Mitigation Study being conducted by NC State University.

 

Immediately following the flooding and devastation from Tropical Storm Julia and Hurricane Matthew,  Windsor Mayor Jim Hoggard and Bertie County Chairman John Trent spent countless hours reaching out to various regional resources for technical assistance in an effort to take a long term look and the flooding in the Cashie River basin.

 

On May 19th, 2017 the Golden Leaf Foundation grant administration staff along with Executive Director Dan Gerlach visited Bertie County to discuss disaster relief priorities.  Three County Commissioners represented Bertie County including Vice Chairman Ernestine Bazemore, Commissioner Tammy Lee and Commissioner Ron Wesson who pressed for funding consideration to assist our community to replace critical facilities such as the public library and cooperative extension offices.  Mayor Hoggard made the case for grant money to support the initial research study for the Cashie River.

 

On June 1st, 2017 the Golden Leaf Foundation awarded two significant grants to Bertie County.  $500,000 is available for planning, design and engineering for a new public library and cooperative extension offices to be co-located in a joint use facility in downtown Windsor.  The Board of Commissioners is currently in the process of selecting a design team from a pool of six firms who responded to a request for qualifications in late August.  Secondly, the Golden Leaf Foundation has approved $72,207 in grant funding to support the first of two studies of the Cashie River Basin.

 

Dr. Barbara Doll of NC State University is coordinating a research project entitled  the “Town of Windsor Flood Reduction Feasibility Study” which will identify engineering options and best management practices targeted at reducing runoff and surface flow reaching the Cashie River from the watershed and its tributaries, and for reducing the direct flow of water into the town during river flooding events.

 

In the presentation to the Board of Commissioners on Monday, Dr. Doll reviewed NCSU’s team effort to examine existing flood models which are scientific predictors of the Cashie River and its tributaries using both NC Emergency Management data and NC Department of Transportation historical records, with a specific focus on 6.2 mile stretch of the river through Windsor.  NCSU’s analysis also builds on the “flood inundation mapping and alert network” to establish the actual flooding experienced in both Tropical Storm Julia and Hurricane Matthew to verify the “ground truth” of these scientific models as reflect in the graphics attached with this email.

 

As the study continues, Dr. Doll and her team of engineers will examine additional analysis of historical precipitation and river discharge records, and seek to identify temporary upland water storage locations (former millponds) in order to slow the flow of water during storm events. 

 

The final report from NCSU is due January 31, 2018.

 

The second flood mitigation report is jointly supported by the Bertie County Board of Commissioners and the Town of Windsor, and will provide a broad examination of the regional impacts on the Cashie River and surrounding waterways.  Also approved by the Board of County Commissioners on October 2nd was a budget amendment in the amount of $50,000 and a Memorandum of Agreement with the Town of Windsor to engage NC LOW (NC Land of Water), a non-profit educational organization led by Dr. Stanley Riggs of East Carolina University.

 

ECU’s Dr. Stanly Riggs has assembled a planning group to examine flood impacts along the Cashie River drainage basin, and assess the hydrologic systems of the Roanoke River (Bertie County’s western boundary) and the Chowan River (Bertie County’s eastern boundary) by establishing internal and regional monitoring sites measuring the complex flow of water toward the Albemarle Sound.  This effort is ongoing and both the County and the Town of Windsor believe that Dr. Riggs’ study is critical to determining the most appropriate sustainable solutions.

 

These two science based initiatives provide a unique blend of regional hydrologic analysis and engineering recommendations to 1) better understand the changing dynamics of Bertie County’s river drainage systems, and 2) produce strategies for upstream water impoundment, peak flow reduction and diversion of flood water which will ultimately mitigate flood damage for the County and in the Town of Windsor.