June 25, 2014
UPDATE: Park Service modifies buffer
for nesting terns in north Avon
By IRENE NOLAN
Barclay Trimble today allowed the modification of a buffer around a
least tern nest in north Avon that had closed the ocean beach in front
of about nine houses on Pamlico Court.
Trimble said today that the required 100-meter buffer was reduced to 50 meters.
Service public affairs specialist Cyndy Holda said that a park
biologist did field tests yesterday to determine at what distance the
nesting bird would be flushed off the nest. The bird was "bumped" off
the nest when the biologist got within 50 meters of the nest. So the
buffer was cut in half.
Holda said she understands that only about three houses are now affected.
Park Service also straightened out the path between the toe of the dune
and the closure that serves as a foot path for people in the
houses who want to get past the closure to the area of beach that is
Holda noted that, according the Park Service's Final
Environmental Impact Statement on the off-road vehicle plan and final
rule, the superintendent has the discretion to reduce buffers in some
According to the FEIS, the park can "reduce those
buffers in the immediate vicinity of paved roads, parking lots,
campgrounds, buildings, and other facilities, such as within the
villages or at National Park Service (NPS) developed sites, the NPS
retains the discretion to provide resource protection to the extent
possible while still allowing those facilities to remain operational.”
The incubation time for least tern nests is about 21
days. The nest is thought to have been established last Saturday
and is located near the northern Avon village boundary and just south
of a pre-nesting area for colonial waterbirds.
If the nest
hatches, the buffer for unfledged chicks is 200 meters. If the
nest is lost, the buffer will stay in place for two weeks in case the
pair tries again.