Flood Protection

The Village of Bald Head Island participates in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS).  The CRS is a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities exceeding NFIP standards.  Participating in the program can result in the reduction of flood insurance premiums, reduction of flood damage to property strengthens and supports the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and encourages a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.  One of the CRS activities that the Village has implemented is the Program for Public Information (PPI). This Flood Protection webpage is one of the Village’s public information initiatives. Additionally, all of the information below is available in this downloadable brochure.

History of Flooding in Bald Head Island

The Village of Bald Head Island is bordered by the Cape Fear River on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the South and East. To the north, the Village is bordered by wetlands in the Bald Head Island State Natural Area.

Flooding in Bald Head Island may be the result of thunderstorm events or heavy rain. Due to its vulnerable coastal location, the Village is also susceptible to flood impacts from hurricanes, such as those experienced during Hurricane Florence, as well as coastal wave action, beach dune erosion, high tide flooding, and sea-level rise.

Being prepared is your best defense against a flood.

How Do You Prepare for a Flood?

Step 1: Know Your Flood Hazard

Regulated floodplains are illustrated on inundation maps called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).  FIRMs are the official maps for a community on which FEMA has delineated the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), which represent the areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual chance flood event.  On average, structures located within the SFHA have a 26-percent chance of flooding during the life of a standard 30-year mortgage. 

You can view flood risk information for your property online at the North Carolina Flood Risk Information Center portal (http://fris.nc.gov). You can contact the Development Services Director at (910) 457-9700.

Properties located outside of the SFHA are not guaranteed to be safe from flooding. 

Step 2 – Insure Your Property

Flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Bald Head Island participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which makes federally backed flood insurance available for all structures in the Village regardless of whether or not they are located within a SFHA. Coverage is available for the building itself as well as its contents. Renters are highly encouraged to purchase flood insurance for their contents. Note that there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance!

Contact your local insurance agency for more information.  Additional information can be found online at www.floodsmart.gov or by calling 1-888-379-9531. 

Step 3 – Protect Yourself and Your Family

Tune-in to local commercial radio or television stations (WHQR 91.3 FM, WAAV 980 AM) or NOAA weather radio frequencies (162.550). Purchase a Weather Alert Radio to stay informed of changing conditions. Look for and adhere to all posted warnings.

Sign up for Brunswick County’s emergency notifications (Code Red) the following link: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/7BC24EDE14D3

If your property is in imminent danger of flooding, contact your utility provider to request that your power or natural gas be shut off or for guidance on how to do it yourself.

Avoid low-lying areas. Seek shelter in the highest areas possible.

Develop an evacuation plan for your family.  Designate a place where your family will meet after an evacuation order is issued and make sure and make sure you are prepared to leave quickly should the US Coast Guard close the river to commercial traffic including the Bald Head Island Ferry.

Step 4 – Protect Your Property from the Hazard

Various methods may be used to minimize flooding. If the floor level of your property is lower than the “Base Flood Elevation” (elevation of the 100-year flood, based on the FEMA maps), consider elevating your structure, if possible. Brochures discussing flood proofing and other mitigation measures are available through the Development Services Department at (910) 457-9700.

If a flood is imminent, property can be protected by sandbagging areas subject to the entry of water into living spaces. Valuables and furniture may also be moved to higher areas of the dwelling to minimize damages.  Residents can help reduce flooding by taking an active role in keeping trash and debris off the streets and sidewalks and out of streams and ditches.

Step 5 – Build Responsibly

Development within the Village requires various types of permits depending on the project. Always check and fulfill permitting requirements with the Development Services Department at (910) 457-9700. The department will also make a site visit to your property to discuss drainage problems and offer advice on how to protect your property. If a property is within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) it will need to follow the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, including obtaining a floodplain development permit. Further, coastal development will need to comply with the Coastal Area Management Act regulations.

Remember, when building or grading, always maintain a clear area between lots for drainage.

Source: City of Edmonton

The Village requires that if the cost of reconstruction, additions, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s market value, then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building.  Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards. Contact the Development Services Director at (910) 457-9700 for more information.

Step 6 – Protect Natural Floodplain Functions

Floodplains are a natural component of the Bald Head Island environment. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of the Village’s dunes, freshwater ponds, maritime forest, and saltmarsh helps reduce potential flood damage and protect resources.  Poorly planned development can damage these natural areas, weaken flood protection functions, cause habitat loss,  adversely impact water quality, and lead to increased risk of flooding.

Much of the Island is conserved as natural floodplain open space to protect flora and fauna. Contact the Bald Head Island Conservancy at  (910) 457-0089 for more information.  

Step 7 – General Preparedness

The Brunswick County Emergency Management Department recommends community members prepare their families, homes, and businesses for all types of emergency events. They recommend four simple steps: (1) preparing an emergency kit; (2) making a plan for what you will do, including evacuation; (3) stay informed about the event and; (4) get involved in preparing your community.

Brunswick County Emergency Management (https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/emergency/management/) provides detailed information about local hazards and threats of all types, evacuation routes, shelters, and how to prepare an emergency kit. 

Inventory and photograph your home’s contents and put important papers and insurance policies in a safe place.

If possible, place the washer, dryer, furnace and water heater above potential flood waters.  They should be placed on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation, moved to inside a floodwall or moved to a higher floor.  All work must conform to state and local building codes. 

Step 8 – Hurricane Preparedness

In the event of a storm, check TV and radio sources for up-to-date information. Know what to do in the event of a hurricane watch, warning, and/or evacuation order. Create a checklist for emergency supplies, know the locations of evacuation centers, and plan ahead for family and your pets. Prepare your home before a storm to reduce potential damage. 

For evacuation routes, shelter locations, and other hurricane preparedness tips, visit https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/emergency/hurricanes/

Step 9 – Flood Education

Bald Head Island and Brunswick County have many resources available to help you understand your flood risk and options for mitigation. If you want to learn more about flood risk as well as the benefits of mitigation contact the Development Services Department at (910) 457-9700. The Development Services Director can come discuss these topics with your homeowners’ association or neighborhood group. The Village is also promoting education on NAI—no adverse impact floodplain management—to set local goals and reduce damages from floods. To learn more about NAI, visit www.floods.org or contact the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM).

Step 10 – Protect Dunes and Marshes

Protecting the natural coastline is a critical piece in the protection of Bald Head Island. Dunes and marshes can provide flood protection by acting as barriers and absorbing water, help to prevent coastal erosion, and help with shoreline stabilization. Coastal development impacts the health of these features and their ability to perform these natural services.

The Village of Bald Head Island monitors all beaches along the 14 miles of shoreline on the Island consistently with (CAMA) requirements.  For more information, contact the Assistant Village Manager – (910)-457-9700 ext. 1003 or visit the shoreline protection section of the Bald Head Island website for more information about current projects.

For more information about flood safety or the NFIP, please note the following: