The National Park Service is seeking public comment and has scheduled two meetings at the end of the month on an environmental assessment for the rehabilitation of the Ocracoke Light Station at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The Ocracoke Lighthouse, built in 1823, is the oldest functioning lighthouse in the state and the second oldest lighthouse still in service in the country.
A presentation and times for questions about the environmental assessment are planned for the meetings set for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 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 April 13. Comments may be submitted electronically, the preferred method, or mailed to Superintendent, Attn: Ocracoke Light Station, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.
Buildings in the Ocracoke Light Station complex include the lighthouse, double keepers’ quarters, carpenter’s shop, store house, cisterns, privy, oil house and generator house.
“The Ocracoke Light Station rehabilitation project is needed because historic structures have been damaged from recent storms and, if the buildings are left as they are, it is expected that they will be damaged further by future storms,” officials said. “In the wake of recent storm damage and in consideration of future impacts from climate change and sea level rise, the National Park Service proposes to sustainably rehabilitate the Ocracoke Light Station and mitigate reasonably foreseeable flooding impacts while continuing to provide visitor access.”
The environmental assessment evaluates the following alternatives:
- Alternative A — The no-action alternative that is the current management to repair exterior and interior storm damage.
- Alternative B — Elevate some of the structures at the Ocracoke Light Station and repair storm damage.
- Alternative C — Remove the double keepers’ quarters and replace it with a ghost structure, which would mimic the size, shape and location of the existing building.
Under all alternatives, the Ocracoke Lighthouse would be rehabilitated, which would include the following actions:
- Removing the shotcrete from the exterior of the lighthouse and replacing it with a coating that will allow appropriate protection of the masonry and moisture control.
- Replacing damaged masonry, including replacing bricks and mortar.
- Repairing or replacing all windows with historically appropriate windows.
- Repairing leaks at the top lantern and repainting.
- Recoat interior masonry.
- Exposing the original stone foundation.
The alternatives and a summary of their potential impacts are listed in the Ocracoke Light Station Rehabilitation Project newsletter and the environmental assessment online.