Filter by Type

The Need for Storm Recovery Plans, Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina

Patrick Kenney
Created: 11/26/2015 - Updated: 7/10/2019

Photo attributed to the NPS/Michael B. Edwards. Incorporated here under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Summary

Cape Lookout National Seashore is regularly impacted by hurricanes and other storms. To improve park management, the park needed to develop a post-storm recovery plan to ensure wise fiscal decisions and management of public expectations for what facilities and services can be restored following these major events. 

Background

In August 2011 Cape Lookout National Seashore was impacted by Hurricane Irene. The Long Point area of the park is a major hub of visitor and park operations on North Core Banks, one of three major islands in the park. Long Point serves as the primary access point for visitors arriving on the passenger/vehicle ferry to North Core Banks and for park operation vessels. Facilities at this site include 10 rustic rental cabins (20 rental units) for visitors, and additional buildings used for park operations including resource management, research, and law enforcement. 

When Hurricane Irene made landfall at Cape Lookout National Seashore, storm waves and overwash flattened large dunes and damaged park facilities, particularly the harbor and infrastructure (e.g., septic tanks) at Long Point. 

Implementation

The current park planning documents provide no guidance on how post-storm recovery should be handled beyond an Incident Response and Recovery Framework. The National Park Service (NPS) response to prior storms has been to rebuild in-kind. In the hectic weeks following Hurricane Irene, as the park worked to restore the park in time for the peak visitor season, the park decided to dredge the shoaled-in harbor and to rebuild the visitor and operational facilities at Long Point.

This event has underscored the need for storm recovery planning and the associated public dialogue to manage expectations about the resource impacts, costs, and recovery time for park facilities. It is critical that this planning and dialogue occur well ahead of storm events to avoid decisions being made in the “reaction-mode” that occurs after storm events. Furthermore, the plans will allow for careful consideration of the fiscal impacts of rebuilding facilities in high risk areas. Increased storm intensity and frequency related to climate change are expected to heighten the urgency of these issues.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The park has identified several specific goals for the near future:

  • Public dialogue on the future of these types of facilities and access to the park
  • Further NPS guidance and policies related to storm damage and rebuilding in high-risk areas
  • Development of post-storm recovery plans in order to avoid reactionary decision making
  • Managing the public’s high expectations for the park to rebuild facilities 

-------

This case study is part of the 2015 National Park Service report, Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies. These case studies initially were developed by park managers as part of a NPS-led coastal adaptation training in May 2012. The case studies follow the format created for EcoAdapt’s Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) database, including a list of adaptation strategies. All case studies were updated and modified in September 2013 and March 2015 in response to a growing number of requests from coastal parks and other coastal management agencies looking for examples of climate change adaptation strategies for natural and cultural resources and assets along their ocean, lacustrine, and riverine coasts.

Status

Submitted by user and reviewed by CAKE Content Editor November 2015

Citation

Kenney, P. (2015). The Need for Storm Recovery Plans, Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina [Case study on a project of Cape Lookout National Seashore]. Excerpted from Schupp, C.A., R.L. Beavers, and M.A. Caffrey [eds.]. 2015. Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies. NPS 999/129700. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado. Retrieved from CAKE: www.cakex.org/case-studies/need-storm-recovery-plans-cape-lookout-nation...(Last updated November 2015)

Project Contacts

A boat ride three miles off-shore brings you to the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore.  Horse watching, shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing, and touring historic villages--there’s something for everyone at Cape Lookout.  Be sure to bring all the food, water, and supplies you need (and carry your trash out of the park) when visiting these remote beaches.

Keywords

Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Erosion
Flooding
Storms or extreme weather events
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Managed retreat of built infrastructure, relocation of people/communities
Make infrastructure resistant or resilient to climate change
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptation plans

Related Resources

Consideration of Shackleford Banks Renourishment, Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina

Photo attributed to Bonnie Gruenberg. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Cape Lookout National Seashore had to evaluate whether it was appropriate to pursue opportunities to mitigate shoreline erosion along Shackleford Banks, a proposed wilderness area.

Rehabilitating Stream Crossings on Historic Roads, Acadia National Park, Maine

Photo attributed to Joseph Zarro. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Internationallicense. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Acadia National Park in Maine is working to rehabilitate historic road systems and culverts that have been damaged by increasingly frequent flooding and erosion events that were causing maintenance and visitor use closures.

Reservoir Water Level Change Impacts on Cultural Resources, Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas

Photo attributed to Maekju. This work has been released into the public domain by its author. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas, protects many archeological sites in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands region of southwest Texas. Sites are affected by lake level fluctuations related to climate change impacts including precipitation, storms, and changes in agricultural water use. Park managers are documenting the impact of changing water levels on the cultural resources in the park. 

Incorporating Climate Change Response into a General Management Plan, Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia

This image has been released into the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the National Park Service. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Assateague Island National Seashore is developing a general management plan that addresses projected climate change impacts on resources and infrastructure. The plan must include a range of management tools for improving resource resiliency and repairing facilities that will be impacted by climate change and storms. 

Summary: 

Assateague Island National Seashore is responsible for maintaining and managing access to a recreational beach that is impacted by storms multiple times each year. Maintaining the recreational beach in its present location is unsustainable in the face of continued storms, shoreline erosion, and sea level rise.

Summary: 

Climate change impacts, including coastal erosion, reduction in sea ice, and thawing of permafrost, are impacting Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (BELA) and Cape Krusenstern National Monument (CAKR) along the northwestern Alaska coast.

Adaptation Phase: 
Assessment
Summary: 

Climate change has increased the vulnerability of cultural resources in coastal locations at Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument along the northwestern Alaska coast. The Alaska Regional Office is developing and testing a GIS model that is intended to predict locations and vulnerability of these cultural resources. 

Shell Mound Sites Threatened by Sea Level Rise and Erosion, Canaveral National Seashore, Florida

Photo attributed to Ebyabe. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Canaveral National Seashore contains several of the largest, most intact, and most significant prehistoric shell mounds in North America. Four of these mounds are threatened by erosion induced by sea level rise and increased storm activities.

Reducing Vulnerability of Coastal Visitor Facilities, Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Photo attributed to Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue. Incorporated here under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, needs to replace visitor facilities along a popular beach vulnerable to coastal erosion and storm impacts. Redesigning this area required collaboration with visitors, town representatives, coastal engineers, and scientists to incorporate visitor use and needs with the realities of coastal change. 

Relocating the Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina

Photo attributed to Bohemian Baltimore. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Ongoing erosion threatened the base of a historic lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, despite multiple hard stabilization protection efforts. The park needed to obtain funding and public support to relocate the lighthouse away from the eroding shoreline. 

Summary: 

Sea level rise and increased tropical storm intensity pose a serious risk to the long-term sustainability of historic Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida.

Developing Sustainable Visitor Facilities, Everglades National Park, Florida

Photo attributed to the dronepicr. Incorporated here under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Visitor facilities in the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park in Florida were destroyed by two hurricanes in 2005. Incorporating climate change sustainability into the redevelopment plan has required extensive data gathering efforts and public engagement. 

Incorporating Climate Change into Florida’s State Wildlife Action Plan

This image has been released into the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Although Florida habitats and species face significant threats related to sea level rise, Florida’s first state wildlife action plan did not comprehensively consider climate change impacts.

Summary: 

The goal of this project was to develop a plan to stabilize a historic lighthouse at Fort Pulaski National Monument in a way that considered expected sea level rise and related impacts.

Restoring the Jamaica Bay Wetlands, Gateway National Recreation Area, New York

Photo attributed to GK tramrunner229. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Gateway National Recreation Area partnered with other state and federal agencies to restore wetlands in Jamaica Bay, a eutrophic urban estuary, through sediment addition and plantings. While the project was not driven by climate change concerns, addressing marsh elevation loss is consistent with methods to address sea level rise.

Summary: 

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies to develop a long-term management strategy for Ocean Beach, where bluff erosion threatens natural and recreational resources, wastewater infrastructure, and a roadway (the Great Highway). Sea level rise and increased storminess are expected to increase the frequency of erosional events. 

Establishing Alternative Transportation to Fort Pickens to Supplement Vulnerable Road Access, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida

Photo attributed to Tony Webster. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. No endorsement by licensor implied. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

In Florida, the Fort Pickens Road within Gulf Islands National Seashore is regularly destroyed by storms, and repairs are expensive and time consuming. The park continues to reevaluate the local conditions and implement cost-effective, sustainable modes of visitor access to Fort Pickens beaches and the historic fort. 

Summary: 

The large-scale project known as the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) is intended to restore multiple barrier islands and protect cultural resources within Gulf Islands National Seashore by recreating sediment transport processes and replacing a portion of sediment lost to dredging and storm impacts. 

Recognizing Coral Adaptations to Environmental Stressors, National Park of American Samoa

This image has been released into the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the National Park Service. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Ofu Lagoon, part of the National Park of American Samoa, contains a healthy coral reef habitat that supports a diversity of species. The park is working with university partners towards the goal of understanding the unique adaptations of the coral in Ofu Lagoon to multiple environmental stressors associated with climate change.

Summary: 

The National Park Service Geologic Resources Division (NPS GRD) is working with the University of Colorado Boulder to develop sea level change and storm surge data that parks can use for planning purposes over multiple time horizons. 

Summary: 

Archeological sites and traditional resources of significance to indigenous groups along the Olympic Coast are being affected by climate change. The goals of this project can be split into three facets.

Restoring the Giacomini Wetlands from Agricultural Lands, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Photo attributed to Robert Campbell, robertcampbellphotography.com. No endorsement by author implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Point Reyes National Seashore developed the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project to restore tidal wetlands from diked agricultural lands.

Eroding Shoreline Threatens Historic Peale Island Cabin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Photo attributed to USGS. Incorporated here under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

Yellowstone National Park collaborated with the National Park Service Geologic Resources Division (NPS GRD) to examine the causes of shoreline erosion on Peale Island and to identify adaptation options for protecting the shoreline and a historic cabin on the island. 

Translate this Page