Thursday, May 03, 2007


The North Carolina Geological Survey's landslide risk analysis for all of Watauga County is due to be completed this summer. Apparently, the NCGS has amassed an impressive array of evidence, both historical and geomorphological, that is going to put Watauga's considerable risk for life-threatening landslides on full display.

The study was paid for and mandated by the state legislature after five people died in a landslide in Macon County in 2004 and many homes in several counties slid off their foundations, including several in Watauga ... all following back-to-back hurricane events named Ivan and Frances.

Furthermore, House Bill 1754, the "Safe Artificial Slope Construction Act of 2007," has been introduced in the NC legislature. If passed, the act will force local governments to deal with slope development. Many of those governments won't, unless forced to. Which, we guess, is the point of the law, minimal and weak as it is.

Discussion of HB1754 has begun to seep into the public press. We'll look for much more, especially after NCGS releases its hazardous slope report on Watauga County.

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