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July 18, 2016

A conversation with the seashore superintendent


David Hallac, superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, was the guest for the latest edition of the Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point," on Sunday, July 17.

The program is hosted by Irene Nolan, editor of The Island Free Press, and the topic was summer at the seashore.

Among the topics that Hallac addressed in the interview were:

  • The Park Service's plan to address stormwater issues in the Buxton/Frisco area with a joint National Environmental Policy Act-based planning process to evaluate its options to alleviate flooding at Cape Point and Frisco. As part of the process, the park will partner with other local, state, and federal agencies, including Dare County, the state Wildlife Resources Commission, the state Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. The public will also have input into the process, Hallac said.
  • Nesting in the seashore. Piping plover nesting is about finished for the season, Hallac said. Three chicks fledged this year, two more than the one bird that fledged last year but fewer than were fledged each year since 2012 when there were 11 piping plover fledglings. In addition, the seashore could see another record set this year for sea turtle nesting. A record 289 nests were laid last year. As of the July 13 natural resources report, there were 191 nests, slightly more than the 188 at this time last year.
  • Cape Point. The nesting season for piping plovers and American oystercatchers, both birds that have closed down access to Cape Point in the past, is winding down. There are no nests left in the area of the Point. However colonial waterbirds are still nesting in the area, including least terns and black skimmers. Hallac didn't speculate on when he thought Cape Point might reopen for access, but he did note that the colonial waterbird nesting season could wind down in the next few weeks.
  • Modified wildlife buffers. Hallac said that the modified wildlife buffers that were effective last year have made a significant difference in access, especially in the Cape Point area this year. Providing a corridor past an oystercatcher nest near the Point kept it open an extra five weeks compared to some past years. Corridors also made a difference at three oystercatcher nests on Ocracoke -- at South Point, Ramp 63, and between Ramp 59 and 63.

In addition, Hallac said, Ramp 44 has been closed to ORVs by mid- to late May in past years. It has not been closed at all this year, he said. In fact, the beach south of Ramp 44 has been open all summer for about six-tenths of a mile to the south toward Cape Point. He said this is "entirely due to the modified buffers."

In past years, the 1,000-meter buffer for piping plover chicks has effectively shut down the area all the way from the Point to Ramp 44. This year, there was a brood of piping plovers in the area, but with the Park Service's ability to reduce the buffer to as small as 200 meters with additional staff monitoring, the beach stayed open. Hallac added that the buffer was never reduced to 200 meters, but usually ranged from 300 to 500 meters.

Also in the interview, Hallac discussed Park Service communications, summer events for visitors, upcoming centennial events, and keeping the beach clean.

To listen to the interview, scroll down to the "To the Point" logo and click on the arrow.

"To the Point" is broadcast on the island's community radio station,101.5 FM on southern Hatteras and 99.9 FM on northern Hatteras, at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month. It is repeated on the second and fourth Sunday. Those who don't live on Hatteras can listen to the show on Sundays through live streaming at


Radio Hatteras is Hatteras Island's community, non-profit radio station and depends on grants, memberships, and underwriting.

It broadcasts around the clock with news -- including such things as surfing and fishing reports -- community announcements, music, and special programs. The station is also now streamed live. To listen, go to

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Radio Hatteras memberships are $50 for a family, $25 for an individual and $10 for a student. Mail memberships and other contributions to Radio Hatteras, P.O. Box 339, Frisco, NC 27936.

E-mail [email protected] or call (252) 995-6000 for information about underwriting opportunities.

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