The National Park Service is seeking public comment and has scheduled two meetings later this month on an environmental assessment for the rehabilitation of the Ocracoke Lighthouse in Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The Ocracoke Lighthouse, built in 1823, is the oldest operating lighthouse in the state and the second oldest lighthouse still in operation in the country.
A presentation and question time on the EA are scheduled for meetings scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 28 at the Berkley Barn at Berkley Manor, 58 Water Plant Road, Ocracoke. The same information will be presented at both meetings.
The public comment period on the proposed work ends on April 13. Comments may be submitted electronically, the preferred method, or by mail to the Superintendent, Attn: Ocracoke Light Station, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.
Buildings in the Ocracoke Lighthouse Station Complex include the Lighthouse, Double Keepers’ Quarters, Carpenter’s Shop, Storehouse, Cisterns, Toilets, Oil House, and Generator House.
“The Ocracoke Lighthouse Rehabilitation Project is necessary because historic structures have been damaged by recent storms and if the buildings are left as they are, they are expected to be further damaged by future storms. “, officials said. “Following recent storm damage and considering the future impacts of climate change and sea level rise, the National Park Service is proposing to sustainably rehabilitate Ocracoke Lighthouse and mitigate impacts reasonably foreseeable flooding while continuing to provide visitor access.”
The environmental assessment evaluates the following alternatives:
- Alternative A – The non-action alternative which is the current management to repair the exterior and interior damage caused by the storm.
- Alternative B – Raise some of the Ocracoke Lighthouse structures and repair storm damage.
- Alternative C — Remove the double guardian quarters and replace them with a ghost structure, which would mimic the size, shape and location of the existing building.
In all alternatives, the Ocracoke Lighthouse would be rehabilitated, which would include the following actions:
- Remove the shotcrete from the exterior of the lighthouse and replace it with a coating that will provide adequate masonry protection and moisture control.
- Replacement of damaged masonry, including replacement of bricks and mortar.
- Repair or replace all windows with historically appropriate windows.
- Repair leaks at top lantern and repaint.
- Cover the interior masonry.
- Exposure of the original stone foundation.
The alternatives and a summary of their potential impacts are listed in the Ocracoke Lighthouse Rehabilitation Project Information Bulletin and the online Environmental Assessment.