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Dare Board of Commissioners receives waterways work plan

Dare County’s Board of Commissioners received an update on the county’s waterways and five recommended planning actions for the county’s Waterways Commission at the board’s March 1 meeting.

Brent Johnson, Dare County’s project manager and waterways administrator, made the presentation. Steve Coulter, who chairs the Dare County Waterways Commission, attended the meeting in person.

The commission formed a working group to look at long-range planning actions needed for the county’s waterways. The working group’s work was discussed by the commission.

The result is these five planning actions:

– Obtain Dare County permits to dredge Rollinson Channel, Hatteras, Barney Slough, Sloop

Channel and South Ferry Channel and Hatteras Bar using the new state public private partner dredge Miss Katie with Wanchese as the hailing port. Permit work is currently underway through the dredge material management plan. Additional funding, required for sediment sampling from Hatteras Inlet Bar, will come from the county’s project budget.

– Formally request the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to add the Hatteras Inlet/Bar to the Federal Authorization under the Water Resource Reform and Development Act, Section 7001.

The Section 7001 process allows local users to submit recommended changes to authorizations. Congress must approve the addition of the Hatteras Inlet Bar to the Federal Authorization. That will require support from federal representatives.

– Update 2013 Hatteras Economic Impact Study.

This recommendation calls for consolidating various studies into one updated format with a focus on beach nourishment and benefits of Hatteras waterways. The report will assist in grant writing for future applications. The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau has agreed to fund 50% of the estimated cost of $25,000.

– Request state legislation to fully fund the dredging from Wanchese Channel Range 14 going North passing Pirates Cove and Manteo to Range 1 during the Corps pipeline contract in FY2022. That contract bids out in spring 2022 with dredging starting October 2022

– Request the Dare County Board of Commissioners support a resolution to submit to NCDOT, state and federal representatives and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stressing the importance of funding and continued maintenance of the Rodanthe Federal Channel and Emergency Ferry Route.

Also at the meeting, the board held a public hearing regarding Dare Home Health and Hospice. No one submitted public comment at the hearing time. One email comment was received. Amanda Myers, a physical therapist with Dare Home Health and Hospice, wrote: “I was frustrated by the lack of discussion regarding our agency. I would have liked to make a comment but could not find a phone number to call or a link to send a message.”

After the hearing, county manager Robert L. Outten announced that the county’s consultant will now put out a request for interested parties to submit proposals including pricing information. The commissioners have not made a decision about the retaining or selling the county’s Home Health and Hospice agency.

At the commissioners meeting on March 15, a new system for making a public comment will be in place. To participate with live public comments, register online at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1523638755994036240.

The commissioners unanimously passed a proclamation declaring the month of March 2021 as the 19th Annual March for Meals Month. The proclamation was presented by the Albemarle Commission Area Agency on Aging and Senior Nutrition Program. Congregate meals are provided at the Dare County Center Monday through Friday, except holidays. Meals are also provided for homebound older adults who are at least sixty years of age and unable to prepare meals or participate in a congregate meal program.

The resolution states “On March 22, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 and established a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older…

“Meals on Wheels America started the March for Meals campaign in March 2002 to recognize the historic month, the importance of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs, both congregate and home-delivered, and raise awareness about the escalating problem of senior hunger in America….”

In northern Dare County, the Albemarle Commission Area Agency operates the congregant and home delivery program. On Hatteras Island, Hatteras Island Meals, a volunteer non-profit organization, delivers noontime meals to elderly or homebound clients.

The commissioners appointed Jeff Oden to the Hatteras Community Center District Board of Trustees to fill the unexpired term of Ricki Shepherd, who has moved from Hatteras Island.

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