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According to The News & Observer in Raleigh, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office published extensive studies of flooding concerns and suggestions for mitigation three months before Hurricane Florence roared ashore. The studies examined the effects of new dams, reservoirs and levees and concluded that the most cost effective approaches included elevating flood-prone buildings, buying out the properties and demolishing buildings. Cooper said Hurricane Matthew, “showed us that we must rebuild better and smarter to withstand future floods. Many communities are seeing more frequent and intense floods and we need to help communities plan now.”

The studies attracted little attention in May, and the recommendations didn’t get much discussion during the recent legislative short session. But they could get a second look after Hurricane Florence flooded many of the same areas, and some local leaders say more must be done to reduce the destructive impact of Eastern North Carolina’s major rivers.

Greg Cummings, the mayor of Pembroke in Robeson County, said there’s been a need for years to clean out debris and sediment in and around the Lumber River. “I could take that $500,000 (spent on studies) and go in there and start cleaning out and could save a lot of property and lives and disruption,” he said.

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