November 14, 2013
Marine Fisheries sets public hearing in
Dare on loggerhead marine critical habitat
National Marine Fisheries Service will hold a public hearing related to
the proposed designation of Marine Critical Habitat for the loggerhead
sea turtle under the Endangered Species Act on Thursday, Nov. 21, from
7 to 9 p.m. in the Dare County Board of Commissioners Meeting Room in
NMFS staff will present a brief overview of the Proposed
Rule titled “Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic
Ocean Loggerhead Sea Turtle Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and
Determination Regarding Critical Habitat for the North Pacific Ocean
Following this overview, members of the public
will have the opportunity to go on record with comments on the proposed
designation. Members of the public may also submit written comments at
the hearing, or via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 18. To see it, go to
will open for registration at 6:30 p.m. for sign-up and seating. Time
allotted will depend upon the number of speakers but will likely be
limited to five minutes each. Registered speakers will be asked to
indicate their full name, contact information, and the identity of any
organizations on whose behalf they may be speaking.
local turnout is expected at this meeting because of the possibility
that the marine – and a separate terrestrial – critical habitat
designation could affect seashore beach access, beach nourishment, and
replacing and building new bridges to breach hotspots on Highway 12.
different loggerhead sea turtle marine habitats for the northwest
Atlantic distinct population segment are being considered in the
proposal. They are nearshore reproductive habitat, breeding habitat,
migratory habitat, and winter habitat.
reproductive critical habitat in the proposal aligns with the
Terrestrial Critical Habitat proposed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
for which a public comment period was provided in September.
the waters off of Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout are not included in
this marine habitat category proposal since they were not included in
the terrestrial proposal. However, the Southern Environmental Law
Center has requested that the terrestrial proposed rule be modified to
include Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout.
critical habitat is not proposed in North Carolina waters. The first
proposed designation of breeding habitat waters occurs off of
Migratory critical habitat has been
proposed from approximately Kill Devil Hills to Cape Lookout. The
waters proposed extend from the shoreline to the 200 meter depth
contour (continental shelf).
Winter critical habitat has
been proposed for waters beginning off of Cape Point south to the North
Carolina-South Carolina line. These waters begin at the 20-meter
contour and end at the 100-meter contour.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on the issue of critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles, go to