Beach Access and Park Issues
February 19, 2010

Park Service has released its proposals for 2010 pre-nesting closures

The National Park Service has provided the parties to the consent decree that settled a lawsuit against the Cape Hatteras National Seashore with its recommendations for 2010 pre-nesting closures to protect nesting shorebirds on the seashore beaches.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the Park Service is required to provide these recommendations and maps by Feb. 20 of each year until there in a final ORV rule, which is required by the end of the year under the terms of the decree.

Mike Murray, seashore superintendent e-mailed the recommendations yesterday to the Southern Environmental Law Center attorneys who represent the National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and to the attorneys for the defendant-intervenors, Dare and Hyde counties and the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance.

The pre-nesting areas cover Bodie Island spit, Cape Point, South Beach, North Ocracoke, and Ocracoke’s South Point.

The pre-nesting maps include locations of “all known piping plover and American oystercatcher nests within the area during the preceding breeding season.”

The piping plover is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The American oystercatcher is not federally listed but is listed as a “species of special concern” by the state of North Carolina.

The plaintiffs and defendant intervenors can submit comments on the proposed pre-nesting areas to the Park Service by March 1.
The Park Service is required to implement the pre-nesting areas by March 15, 2010 under the terms of the consent decree.

Pre-nesting areas are closed to off-road vehicles and to pedestrians.

Click here to see the NPS recommendations for pre-nesting areas

Click here to see the maps of the proposed pre-nesting areas

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