National Park Service seeks public comment on Ocracoke Light Station project environmental assessment
Published 7:56 am Sunday, March 27, 2022
The National Park Service invites public review and comment on an environmental assessment (EA) for the rehabilitation of the Ocracoke Light Station at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Two public meetings are scheduled on Monday, March 28.
Buildings associated with the Ocracoke Light Station complex include the lighthouse, double keepers’ quarters, carpenter’s shop, store house, cisterns, privy, oil house and generator house. Built in 1823, the Ocracoke Lighthouse is the oldest functioning lighthouse in North Carolina and the second oldest lighthouse still in service in the United States.
“The Ocracoke Light Station rehabilitation project is needed because historic structures have been damaged from recent storms and, if the buildings are left as they are, it is expected that they will be damaged further by future storms,” stated a Cape Hatteras National Seashore press release. “In the wake of recent storm damage and in consideration of future impacts from climate change and sea level rise, the National Park Service proposes to sustainably rehabilitate the Ocracoke Light Station and mitigate reasonably foreseeable flooding impacts while continuing to provide visitor access.”
The EA evaluates three alternatives:
- Alternative A, the no action alternative is current management to repair exterior and interior storm damage
- Alternative B, is an alternative to elevate some of the structures at the Ocracoke Light Station and repair storm damage
- Alternative C, is an alternative to remove the double keepers’ quarters and replace it with a ghost structure, which would mimic the size, shape and location of the existing building
Under all alternatives, the Ocracoke Lighthouse would be rehabilitated, which would include the following actions:
- Removing the shotcrete from the exterior of the lighthouse and replacing it with a coating that will allow appropriate protection of the masonry and moisture control
- Replacing damaged masonry, including replacing bricks and mortar
- Repairing or replacing all windows with historically appropriate windows
- Repairing leaks at the top lantern and repainting
- Recoat interior masonry
- Exposing the original stone foundation
The three alternatives and a summary of their potential impacts are listed in the Ocracoke Light Station Rehabilitation Project newsletter and EA at parkplanning.nps.gov/CAHA_ocracoke_lightstation.
On Monday, March 28, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., the public is invited to attend an EA presentation and question-and-answer session at the Berkley Barn at Berkley Manor, located at 58 Water Plant Road in Ocracoke. The same information will be presented at both meetings.
The public comment period ends April 13, 2022. Comments may be submitted electronically, the preferred method, at bit.ly/3JN2EUJ or mailed to: Superintendent, Attn: Ocracoke Light Station, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.