The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the draft compatibility determination for the S-Curves beach nourishment interim protection for Highway 12 project to the public for review and comment until Nov. 8.
The work proposed will be conducted on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Comments are being sought on the benefits and impacts from issuing a permit to allow beach nourishment as a one-time solution for interim protection of Highway 12 while a permanent bridge across the area in northern Rodanthe is being planned and constructed.
Federal wildlife refuges are required by law to determine the compatibility of any proposed non-wildlife dependent use with the mission of the national wildlife refuge system and the purpose for which a particular refuge was established.
Mike Bryant, manager of Pea Island refuge, found the beach nourishment project “compatible” on a one-time basis.
“After reviewing the available information and according to my best professional judgment, I find that the Phase IIb Beach Nourishment project affecting Refuge beach and as requested by NCDOT can be found compatible with the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the purpose for establishing Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on a one-time basis,” he wrote. “This determination is conditional upon full compliance with all terms and provisions of the Special Use Permit, including an unconditional commitment to the Refuge monitoring program requirements.”
The conditions that USFWS placed on the permit include the suitability of the sand source.
The draft compatibility statement says, “Approval of the requested use to place 1,126,104 yards of sand on 8,685 linear feet of refuge beach can be granted only if the borrow source material is within the range of suitability with natural beach sand. Sand suitability for any disposal action is determined by the refuge manager and will be based upon standards that are known to have minimal impact on refuge resources and with opportunity for recovery of marine invertebrates.”
Bryant added, “The mission of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is to protect migratory birds and other native wildlife and their breeding grounds and habitat for the benefit of the American people,” said refuge manager Mike Bryant. He added, “We want the community to be informed about the work being proposed and to have an opportunity to weigh in on the pros and cons of that work.”
If you wish to review the Draft Compatibility Determination, copies are available at the refuge administrative office at 100 Conservation Way, Manteo, on the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge web site at http://www.fws.gov/peaisland, and at the Dare County Public Libraries. Written comments may be sent to: Refuge Manager, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 1969, Manteo, NC 27954 or e-mailed to [email protected]
All comments must be submitted no later than close of business (4 p.m.) on Nov. 8. If you need additional information, please contact Refuge Biologist Dennis Stewart at 252- 473-1131, ext. 231.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s most recent estimate is that the nourishment project will be completed next April.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Click here to read the draft compatibility survey for beach nourishment at the S-curves.