Tideland News Writer

The designs are complete, easements have been obtained and the N.C. Coastal Federation will soon file for necessary state and federal permits for the long-awaited improvements at two Cape Carteret storm water ponds that have been non-functional eyesores in recent years.

Dr. Lexia Weaver, coastal scientist for the federation, based in the nearby Ocean community, said she hopes the work to turn the Cape Carteret Baptist and Presbyterian church ponds into functioning wetlands can begin before the end of this year.

The project, on which the federation expects to spend $300,000 or a little more, will not only improve the aesthetics of the area right off N.C. 24 in the heart of Cape Carteret but also should improve water quality in Deer Creek, which gets the storm water runoff the ponds held and filtered before the ad-hoc system ceased to function properly. That runoff comes from adjacent properties on the same side of the road, but also from N.C. 24 and from the commercial development, including the Lowes grocery store and Lowes Home Improvement store on the other side of the highway.

Were excited that were almost ready to start, Weaver said. Well be meeting with the church leaders and the town officials in the next couple of weeks to make sure they know exactly whats going to happen. And were in the process of setting up a meeting with the agencies (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, because wetlands are involved; the N.C. Division of Coastal Management; and the N.C. Division of Water Quality) to learn exactly how we need to proceed.

Theres a chance, Weaver said, that the state and federal permits would have to be separate, which might slow down the process. But at the very latest, she expects work to begin shortly after the beginning of 2015.

Cape Carteret commissioners, during their meeting on Sept. 9 in town hall, said they are eager to see the project started. Mayor Dave Fowler appointed building inspector Brandon Hawks, town attorney Mike Curtis and Commissioner Eddie Seegers to serve on the committee to meet with the federation, church and state officials for that pre-application session on the site. Commissioner Richard Hunt will attend if Seegers is unavailable that day.

Weaver said the design for the project is innovative and will be aesthetically pleasant.

The storm water will first enter the smaller upper (farthest from Deer Creek) of the two basins, on the Baptist property. This pond will be reconstructed to have sand and rock layers below the planted vegetation and will serve as a bio-retention area, filtering as much of the pollutants as possible from the collected storm water.

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Cape Carteret ponds due for makeover

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