Flood damage reduction looks hopeful for flood-prone Town of Princeville thanks to new study

Friday, April 29, 2016 - 12:00am

Officials from the Town of Princeville earlier this week joined state and federal representatives to celebrate the release of a study that will help prevent future catastrophic flooding. Princeville is a historic town in eastern North Carolina that has suffered multiple flood events.

After Hurricane Floyd devastated the area in 1999, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized to prepare a study to address to flood risk management issues in Princeville. The state environmental department contributed $1.5 million over the course of the study, which was matched by the federal government. The study was recently released and next steps are ready to be taken.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District hosted the event on Wednesday night in Princeville. State environmental officials attended the event to mark the successful completion of the flood risk management study. 

Brigadier General C. David Turner and Colonel Kevin Landers were the main hosts of the event. They recognized the accomplishments of the Corps study team and presented Mayor Bobbie Jones with a commemorative copy of the “Chief’s Report,” which marked the approval of the study recommendations by Corps headquarters.

Pictured above are the town dignitaries in Princeville including the Mayor, the incoming and outgoing town manager, the finance director, and town councilmen/women.

The Town of Princeville has endured many natural disasters, but none as devastating as the 1999 flooding resulting from Hurricane Floyd. Flood waters reached as high as 23 feet above the ground in some areas and it took ten days for the water to fully recede. The town suffered damage and destruction of more than 1,000 residential structures and was declared a National Disaster Area.

In 2000, an Executive Order was established that led the federal government to study options to reduce future flood damage to the historic town. The state’s environmental department was the non-federal sponsor of the study, which officially concluded on February 23, 2016.

The approval of this study is unique in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ history. It is the first Corps study ever approved based on social and historical factors and not solely on a cost-benefit analysis. The next step is to have the projects that are recommended in the study included in a federal law, which would make a project eligible for construction funding. Construction of a new levee and extension of an existing levee are planned, as well as modifying the intersection of N.C. Highway 33 and U.S. Highway 64 to address flood flow entry via the underpass.

To see a copy of the study, go to http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/WaterManagementMultiPurposeReservoirs/FloodRiskManagementPrinceville,NC.aspx