National Park Service (NPS)

NPS meeting Monday to review new beach wildlife buffers

The Ocracoke beach.

The Ocracoke beach.

The following is from a National Park Service news release April 29, and partly written by Irene Nolan, editor of the Island Free Press at www.islandfreepress.org.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore has scheduled an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Ocracoke School for the public to review its plan released Wednesday for changing wildlife protection buffers in the Off-Road Vehicle management plan.

This plan is in response to legislation passed last December by the U.S. Congress.

Among other things, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore legislation, passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Bill, instructs the Secretary of the Interior to review and adjust wildlife protection buffers, keep them in place the shortest possible duration, designate vehicle and pedestrian corridors around resource closures, and confer with the state of North Carolina on certain buffers and protections.

The legislation is intended to provide more access to the seashore for pedestrians and ORVs during the nesting season for shorebirds and sea turtles.

The document released is an Environmental Assessment that is titled “Review and Adjustment of Wildlife Protection Buffers.”  It analyzes the potential impact of two courses of action:

Alternative A, which is “no action,” or continuing with current management and is the environmentally preferred alternative, and Alternative B, which modifies buffers and/or provides additional access corridors and is the park’s preferred alternative.

The Park Service is proposing some reduction in buffers or other means of increased access, such as corridors, for all protected species on the seashore at some point in the nesting process.

  During the preparation of the plan, the Seashore reviewed and evaluated a number of scientific studies.  A compilation of the evaluation of those scientific studies is also being released along with the EA.

The EA is available for review and comment at:  http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha.

Select the “Review and Adjustment of Wildlife Protection Buffers” link to view the scoping documents.  Comments can also be mailed to:  Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC  27954. 

To ensure your comments are included in this process, they must be entered into the above referenced website or postmarked by May 14.  Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, social media or in any other manner than those specified above.  Bulk comments in hard copy or electronic formats submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

For more information, see the park website here.

To read the entire Island Free Press story, click here.