WARSAW, N.C. – It’s been a little over 10 months since Hurricane Matthew ravaged parts of North Carolina causing flooding in river basins across the state.
Although the water has receded, the cleanup continues and the state is partnering with the nonprofit group Resource Institute to restore rivers, streams, wetlands and ponds impacted by the storm.
Vernon Cox, director of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says the partnership has really pushed progress ahead.
“Having someone like Resource Institute with that capacity to get people out in the field and do assessments and get on with the process of recovery is very important to us and for the agricultural community that we work with,” he states.
To date, the assessment work is completed on 13 dams and one section of stream. The next steps are cost estimating, design, permitting and construction.
Resource Institute pools public resource dollars and connects them with communities that need them.
State Rep. Jimmy Dixon of Warsaw says his district already is seeing a positive impact from the public and private sector working together.
“From my point of view, the people in charge of requesting these funds and administering have done a very, very good job,” he states. “I have heard very, very few complaints on the timeliness of the work being done.”
Cox says oftentimes preventing the magnitude of flooding that happens during a storm like Hurricane Matthew starts way before weather pattern develops.
“It’s a huge issue in the eastern part of the state,” he points out. “If we don’t stay on top of removing stream debris, then drainage becomes a significant issue, and when the next storm event occurs, it becomes that much worse.”
It’s estimated Hurricane Matthew caused at least $4 billion in property damage. The General Assembly allocated $38 million to aid in repairs, in addition to what’s available at the federal level.