WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The years of storms and changes in climate have been harsh on all of us here in the Cape Fear. The Battleship North Carolina has seen more flooding in the past decade than in the previous 60 years.
According to the National Weather Service, in the 1940s, the battleship saw six flooding events. But, between Nov. 2018 and Aug. 2019, more than 140 flooding events occurred in the area...a huge increase that has prompted the Living with Water Project.
Sunny day tidal flooding issues are impacting access to the ship, not the ship itself; the water covers parts of the road leading to the ship, which causes the tourist destination to delay opening, or even close, on some days.
“Our plan is to take two acres of the land here and restore it to a wetland, as well as restore some of the shoreline,” said Stacie Hidek, the marketing director for the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. “And we’ll also need to raise the parking lot out of the floodwaters. The NC Department of Transportation will also be part of the solution because you can’t get down the battleship road to get to us...it doesn’t matter how high our parking lot is. So, all of that is in progress right now.”
Instead of trying to fight the water, the project proposes living with it.
“We don’t want to wall off the water,” said Hidek. “That tends to cause more problems than it solves in the long run. So what we want to do is kind of go with the water capture, absorb, and direct it to the river that also provides habitat for fish and animals. And we also plan to serve a lot of school groups here. And, so we’ll also add that to what we can offer them as far as addressing environmental issues and looking at water quality.”
They also plan to build a boardwalk across the wetlands so visitors can see the animals and habitat and study it up close.
Investigation of this site is already underway. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working on this as well to help with the science behind the design.
Construction will begin in 2022. To read more about the project, click here.