National Park Service (NPS)

NPS sets pre-nesting areas for shorebird breeding season

Three American oystercatcher eggs on a nest Photo from National Park Service

Three American oystercatcher eggs on a nest
Photo from National Park Service

National Park Service  News Release March 13, 2015

To protect breeding habitat for important shorebirds, Cape Hatteras National Seashore  staff are implementing pre-nesting closures in several beach locations.

During the winter, staff conducted annual assessments of preferred breeding habitat for piping plover, Wilson’s plover, American oystercatcher and colonial waterbirds.  All pre-nesting closures will be marked by March 15.  Pre-nesting areas for colonial waterbird sites will be marked by April 15 and all informational maps and supporting information will be posted at:  http://www.nps.gov/caha/learn/prenest.htm.

The pre-nesting closure areas are based on the recent breeding history at the Seashore and the actual habitat conditions observed during the annual assessment.  The site-specific restrictions are posted at each location to provide the most accurate and up-to-date indication of access status.

In addition, on March 15 the Bodie Island Spit seasonal ORV route from 0.2 mile south of Ramp 4 to the inlet will be changed to a seasonal Vehicle Free Area while the designated year-round ORV route from 0.5 of a mile south of Coquina Beach to 0.2 of a mile south of Ramp 4 remains open to vehicles with access via Ramp 4.

ORV permits are available online by visiting www.recreation.gov website or at the following park locations: Coquina Beach, 8101 NC 12 Highway, Nags Head, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center, 46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton, and the Ocracoke Visitor Center, 40 Irvin Garrish Highway.

The permit offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., every day except Christmas, with expanded hours on weekends and holidays during the summer season.  The cost of an annual permit (valid for the calendar year) is $120.  A seven-day ORV permit (valid from the date issued) costs $50.

The Seashore’s interactive maps are updated weekly to reflect changes to beach access.  The map is available on-line at:  http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm  Note:  During the summer season, this map is subject to frequent changes and on-site signage provides current conditions.

For more  information, call 252-473-2111, or visit the park webpage at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/off-road-vehicle-use.htm