Oct. 16 marked the fifth public meeting in a series designed to secure input and feedback from the public in the development of the Lake Mattamuskeet Watershed Restoration Plan. The lake is considered unhealthy and is listed on the state 303(d) list for impaired waters. This means that actions must be taken to improve water quality in the lake. At the same time chronic and persistent flooding in the watershed is problematic for residents and farmers.

Over the past 18 months, a team of stakeholders have joined together to develop a plan that will restore the lake’s health and improve conditions for people living around the lake. The draft is now complete and was presented for comment and review at the October meeting. The public is encouraged to review and provide comments on the draft until Nov. 2, 2018. Access the draft here.

The goals of the plan are to:

• Protect the way of life in Hyde County
• Actively manage the lake’s water level
• Restore water quality and clarity

At the meeting, plan updates were given by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and several technical presentations and research updates were given by researchers from East Carolina University, NC State University and Hyde County Flood Control.

For a compilation of all the presentations, follow this link.

Priority Actions for the Watershed

Michael Flynn, coastal advocate for the Coastal Federation, provided an overview of the priority actions that are included in the draft watershed restoration plan. Currently the stakeholder team, responsible for developing the plan, has prioritized the following three actions:

  1. Create a formal body that provides managing authority for active water management within the watershed in coordination with the Refuge.
    This would allow a coordinated effort to continue the project partners’ involvement in the plan and move the plan to implementation. It will also create an entity that can oversee the water management efforts for the watershed in the future.
  2. Perform a hydrologic study of the watershed.
    The results of this study would create the basis for how water in the watershed will be managed by the formal body mentioned in priority one. It would also allow for plans to be developed to address localized flooding concerns on residential and agricultural properties and it would help evaluate infrastructure needs that will allow for active water management that will support priority action three.
  3. Design engineered plans for active water management in the lake watershed.
    This action will create the fully engineered plans that can then be permitted and implemented for managing water within the watershed. The engineering plans will evaluate what infrastructure is needed in the watershed for active water management, whether or not there is a need for additional outlets from the lake, and will also engineer for possible sheetflow of water over restored wetlands and in localized hotspot areas.

Technical Presentations

Four technical presentations and research updates were given about the current status of Lake Mattamuskeet and potential solutions to some of the issues.

The first presentation was given by April Lamb, a graduate student at NC State. She is working with Dr. Jesse Fischer to understand the carp population in the lake. They will make recommendations about carp removal and how this could lead to potential revegetation within the lake.

Dr. Randall Etheridge, assistant professor at ECU, gave two presentations during the meeting; one on the conditions of outlet canals on the lake and another on hydrologic modeling for the lake watershed.

The final presentation was given by Daniel Brinn, water and flood control coordinator at Hyde County Flood Control, on a potential strategy for how to move forward with water management in the lake watershed.

All the presentations are available here.

Public Symposium

A public symposium for the final Lake Mattamurkeet Watershed Restoration Plan will be held on Dec. 3 at Martelle’s Feed House in Engelhard. Comments on the draft plan are being accepted until Friday, Nov. 2.