Just the Facts: Sea Level Rise

Sea Level Rise

The March 31, 2015 final draft of the Sea Level Rise Assessment Report, published by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel, has generated several news articles related to the final draft document.  These articles highlight data gathered at several locations, including the NOAA tide gauge readings from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility located in Duck.  Duck, along with other areas of the Northern Outer Banks, may experience shifting elevations exacerbating the effects of sea level rise.  Follow links below to read the complete final draft report and supporting documents prepared by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel: “North Carolina Sea Level Rise Assessment Report 2015 Update to the 2010 Report and 2012 Addendum”

The Town of Duck recognizes and monitors the dynamic coastal environment where the town is situated, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound.  In an effort to be proactive regarding the impacts to the coastline due to tides, erosion, and storm events, the Town Council has taken steps to better understand the changing shoreline and to effectively implement a shoreline management strategy for the entire Town.  Please view the first Beach Nourishment Project video to learn more.  As part of the Beach Nourishment project, models include estimates for sea level rise.  The Town will be conducting oceanfront coastline profile surveys along the length of the entire town periodically to continue to make decisions on how best to address the changing coastline and will use data gathered from these surveys in the Town’s long-range planning.  Also, in 2013, an ordinance amending the zoning ordinance regulating structures within the primary and frontal dunes was approved, (see Section 156.124 in the Duck Town Ordinances). 

In addition, as part of its efforts to address potential damage from storms and flooding, the Town of Duck adopted a flood damage prevention ordinance (FDPO) in 2003, shortly after the incorporation of the town.  In addition to lowering insurance rates for property owners, adoption and enforcement of the FDPO ensures the Town’s compliance with all standards of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The FDPO establishes standards for construction that minimize damage from severe storms and flooding.  In addition, the Town has adopted a one foot freeboard standard that requires buildings to be constructed an additional foot above the required floodplain elevation.  These measures help buildings in Duck better withstand the occasional storms and flooding that are part of our coastal environment and better prepare for the anticipated sea level rise in the future.