Park Service releases pre-nesting
information and maps…WITH
National Park Service has released information and maps on pre-nesting
closures for piping plovers, a shore bird listed as threatened by the
The pre-nesting closures will be in place by March 15, as required by
the consent decree, signed off on by a federal judge in 2008.
consent decree ended a lawsuit by environmental groups against the Park
Service for what they termed inadequate protections for nesting birds
and sea turtles at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Park natural resource staff conducted the annual assessment of piping
plover breeding habitat and identified pre-nesting areas based on
current habitat conditions and consideration of the breeding activity
of the birds in recent years.
According to the Park Service, temporary resource protection areas are
established to protect threatened and endangered species, including
piping plovers and sea turtles, and for species of concern, including
American oystercatchers and colonial waterbirds (terns and black
This year’s pre-nesting closures follow fairly closely what has been in
effect each spring since 2008.
The pre-nesting closures allow for off-road vehicle access and some
pedestrian access at most of the spits and points – at least until the
birds start actually nesting and chicks begin hatching. At
time, buffers around the nests, agreed to under the consent decree,
For instance, last year Cape Point was still accessible to ORVs and
pedestrians after the pre-nesting areas were established on March 15.
However, by May all ORV and pedestrian access to the Point was closed
down because of nesting plovers and other birds.
A small area of Cape Point remained open but was inaccessible except by
boat or wading in the water below the tide line.
Pre-nesting resource areas are closed to ORVs and to pedestrians.
The Park Service is also reminding visitors that pets must be
physically restrained at all times on a leash no longer than 6 feet on
all seashore beaches.
For more information, call the Park Service at 252-473-2111 ext. 148.
Click here to read an NPS summary
Click here to see maps of the
closures at the
points and spits.