OK, I did some searching and found this very interesting article on the Island Free Press from October 13, 2011 - it's actually a commentary by Jeffrey Golding. At this point, I don't know if there are any more recent findings as to why the NPS refuses to open those drains... According to this piece, it's because they're not allowed to:
Here is a partial quote refering to the flooding.
"...that the color of the water is a "tea brown" caused by rotting vegetation. The part that's missing is the stench and the inordinate number of mosquitoes that are breeding in these waters and the obvious threat to human health. Not just from the mosquitoes, but from the septic system at the campground, which could easily float, the bacteria contained therein, and the threat to the aquifer that both residents and visitors to this island rely upon for fresh water as our supply comes from the wells established here and not upon water pumped from up north (meaning Nags Head and points beyond).
The blame for this issue is not Jan DeBlieu's but rests squarely in the lap of NPS. The issue she raised back in 2003 was that NPS had constructed drains to allow disposal of water from the ocean overwash as a result of Hurricane Isabel without applying for an emergency permit from the North Carolina Department of Water Quality. Shortly after Isabel hit the island, Ms. DeBlieu flew over the island to survey the impact and discovered these new drains, then contacted the state to inquire about the permits, which are required by law. As it turns out NPS and then Superintendent Larry Belli had never applied for the permits and had taken matters into their own hands.
The concern, of course, was that significant amounts of E. coli bacteria would be entering the ocean, which could infect fishes and swimmers coming into contact with these waters. NPS also neglected to post warning signs of this hazard, as they are required to do.
As you can see in the photo of drainage in the works, post Isabel in 2003, that's some rather nasty looking stuff headed south. The drain was one of apparently three cut by NPS to deal with the flooding.
So let's stop blaming someone who was just doing her job and put the fault where it belongs. What's happening at the seashore rests clearly within NPS responsibility and, of late, we've seen yet another glaring example of the agency’s intentional mismanagement of our trust and the area we gave them to protect.
It's sadly ironic that NPS claims that they must close vast areas of our recreational area to, as they advertise, "preserve for future generations," while at the same time, they destroy a maritime forest, which by law they are required to preserve, and so blatantly create and preserve public health hazards that can serve no real purpose other than to drive residents and visitors away from our treasured resource.
The fact is NPS could obtain a permit to drain this area if they applied for an emergency permit from the NCDWQ. Obviously, they're not interested and would rather drive us away and subject the residents and visitors to potential infections of West Nile Virus not to mention the damage done by this standing water to vehicles, which by the way, include those driven by NPS as we own them too.."
Would really like to hear from some of you in the know if this is still where "it" stands today? Meanwhile, I shall keep reading,