First Piping Plovers, Now Sea Turtles Descend on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Loggerhead turtles, such as this female, are one of five species of sea turtles found at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. NPS photo by Ben Porter.

Call it serendipity, the fate of the gods, or simple biology, but it seems that Cape Hatteras National Seashore is undergoing an invasion of sea turtles. And that means more beach closures to off-road vehicles and pedestrians.

At last report, there were 111 confirmed nests laid by sea turtles, an increase of about 30 percent above normal, according to biologists with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. And about 70 percent of those nests have yet to hatch.

Under a consent decree reached earlier this year between the National Park Service, the National Audubon Society, and Defenders of Wildlife, the National Park Service can block access to areas of beach with unhatched nests until those nests hatch.

As experienced in 2007 under the Interim Strategy, and again this season, some full beach closures will be implemented as turtle nests approach "day 50" (from the date when the nest was laid) in expectation of hatching. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, beginning September 15, all sea turtle nests that have reached their hatch window at day 50 will result in full beach closures until those particular nests hatch. As of August 21, 2008, there are 111 sea turtle nests on national seashore beaches, of which, 31 nests have hatched.

Now, some closures that had been implemented due to nesting piping plovers, terns, and Oystercatchers are being reopened.

And while a nighttime prohibition on beach driving is still in effect throughout the Seashore from May 1 to November 15 between 10:00 pm until 6:00 a.m., seashore officials are developing a permit to allow night driving between September 16 and November 15.

Comments

Nice to see that Cape Hatteras is finally doing what it needs to to protect wildlife at the seashore. It's been overrun by 4x4s for far too long.

It is indeed a fact that in the CHNSRA, Post-CD, all nests within the 50-day window require full beach closures for a certain distance either side of the nest to ORV’s and in some cases pedestrians as well. The reason for this is: Tire tracks make it difficult for the hatchlings to reach the sea after hatching. That makes sense, but here’s the kicker: Beaches are closed from 10PM until 6AM. Turtles only hatch at night, so ORV’s are out of the picture during the hatching event. As to the tire track scenario, a two-man crew armed with garden rakes and 15 minutes of time could make the stretch of beach in front of any nest flat as a pancake, allowing for daytime passage of ORV’s. This could be accomplished by civilian stewards, the NPS rangers themselves, Audobon Society volunteers, or pro-access group volunteers. Pro-access folks have been symbolically lining up to volunteer for such a detail, and other services such as nest sitting as well. The question of such volunteerism has been suggested to Spt. Murray, but no final answer has come down. However, there is a very realistic fear that the SELC et al will not endorse it, as civilian volunteers are not “trained” in such areas. It’s pretty much an all-or-nothing mindset for those guys.

There’s also the fact that on Pea Island NWR to the north, 11 of 17 turtle nests were moved to make way for an upcoming dredging/sand replenishment operation on the South side of Oregon Inlet. Nests are not moved in the CHNSRA, even in light of the Pea Island situation. Nests that are directly adjacent to access ramps could be moved to previously closed areas away from beach routes, allowing for more miles of access/through routes to adjacent ramps. Why can nests be moved in an area <30 miles distant, but not in the CHNSRA?

The most prevalent explanations for not moving nests are that with all reptile eggs, incubation temperatures dictate sex of the hatchlings. Also, turtle eggs contain an air bubble within the egg that the embryo uses to breathe during gestation. The air bubble attaches itself to the top of the egg nine hours after hatching, so any moves of nests must be done within this 9-hour window.

Every morning in the pre-dawn, NPS Rangers ride ATV’s down the coast in search of newly laid nests. Once found, they are temporarily roped off by the ranger on the ATV, thus protecting them from any intrusions. The decision as to the possibility of moving nests in dangerous areas could be made at this time. Dangerous areas could include high-traffic areas and areas known for high levels of predation.

Nests are moved regularly in all areas of the world that the loggerhead chooses to nest in. There is one blatant exception: They are NOT being moved in certain parts of the CHNSRA, which are currently being controlled by Audobon Society mandates.

It's actually the state of North Carolina and the FWS who oppose moving turtle nests and with good reason.

Anon,

Quote:

"It's actually the state of North Carolina and the FWS who oppose moving turtle nests and with good reason."

I'm a bit puzzled by your response. Who gave permission for moving 11 of 17 nests in Pea Island NWR? I would guess the NPS, USFWS and the State of NC. Also, I think I covered the more important reasons for not moving and when it is possible to do so. Those reasons being incubation temp's relative to sex determination as well as the 9-hour "air bubble window". I'm sure there are a myriad more.

If the USFWS and NC oppose the moving of nests, then who sanctioned these moves?

Can you please expand on your "good reason" statement?

Want to see something silly? Look at what the CONsent decree says has to happen on Sept 15;

26. After September 15 all remaining unhatched turtle
nests, once they reach their hatch window, shall be protected by
full beach closures, in addition to the fencing methodology
described in the Interim Strategy.

At midnite Sept 14 the rules of common sense change. The full beach will be closed dune to surf. No human may pass this closure, not by walking or driving. Is it that the turtles want to go into the dunes to play with the gulls & raccoons? The turtles want to go for a swim, they don't want to use the high beach.

The "fencing methodology" is a black 'silt' fence material. It is errected around the back side of the nests and a trench is dug to get this fence down into the sand. This traps overwashing seawater forcing it back onto the turtle nest on every wave. That is brilliant, normal overwash disipates over the beach except for here. Here the water is trapped around the nest to make sure these turtles have the hardest time possible hatching. What Aududon and Defenders have done here should be outlawed everywhere else for the sake of the critters they (sic) are said to protect. Yea, we can tell the best minds did not participate in designing this decree.

1. Only nests which reach 50 days after Sept 15 require a full-beach closure, even if they are more than 30 m from the dunes - because night-time driving begins with permits on Sept 15. (all nests behind which an ORV corridor cannot be established also require a full-beach closure).
2. Sea turtle hatchlings can and do emerge in the daytime. (they hatch up to three days before they emerge)
3. Because a sea turtle's sex is determined by the temperature at which it incubates the park is prohibited by the governing entity (NCWRC) from moving nests just because they are in ORV areas. PINWR's case is different as its beaches are highly erosion prone and nest loss is high. CAHA is permitted to move nests in high erosion areas, or nests laid below or too close to the high-tide line.
4. In 2004 civilian volunteers were used to rake out tracks in front of sea turtle nests in an attempt to open the beach for a fishing tournament. They did not live up to the agreement.

And yeah RDT folks, I am anonymous as I prefer to be able to get out of my driveway without having to sweep up nails with a magnet, as others have had to do. I prefer to eat or shop without getting harassed. I prefer not to see my picture and address posted at up at the Post Office, as has been done by those seeking to incite violence against others. I prefer not to worry about being shot or my house burned down just because I have a differing opinion.

The reason for the full beach closures after Sept 15 is because the night-time driving prohibition is lifted. Headlights behind the nests will cause the emerging hatchlings to travel toward that light.

Shut off the electricity to the islands every night and they wouldn't need that black fencing, which is used to block theORV, village and lighthouse light which disorients the emerging hatchlings.

Your comments reveal nothing more than willfull ignorance. You have computer access, you should already know this as the information is but a keystroke away.

-------------
Posted by
longcaster
On August 27th, 2008
At midnite Sept 14 the rules of common sense change. The full beach will be closed dune to surf. No human may pass this closure, not by walking or driving. Is it that the turtles want to go into the dunes to play with the gulls & raccoons?
--------------

Not sure, could be........but if I were a betting man...I would bet that it has something to do with getting Night Driving Permits starting on the 15th and ensuring that ORV's stay off the beach. And yes, contrary to Mr. Wenks testimony to the Seanate Subcommittee, this is "Precedent" setting new environmental rule, as well as the excessive buffer distances mandated, and they WILL effect the Fall fishing season. All of these new "Precedent" setting new environmental rules were made outside of the NEPA process without and public input (contrary to all press releases you read) and no consideration on the context and intensity of the effects which could have "Significant" effect on the quality of the human environment required by 40 CFR 1508.27. I believe these are "Significant" affects on the human environment, never saw this listred on the Federal register, also against NEPA policy. Wonder why not??? If I am not mistaken.....the buffer distances put in the consent decree are USGS Protocols developed for CHNSRA, basically opinions by their technitions, and to this date, have not date listed on the publications, nor have been peer reviewed per their process so they can be considered "Best Available Science"......

I guess I could go on and on....however, this is making me ill and anxious, so I believe I will end here. Have a great day

v/r,
Scott Lambright

As a former official NPS employee that no longer works in CAHA some of your facts are wrong. There are criteria for moving turtle nests in CAHA and it does happen. I myself moved one with a record 168 eggs of which a more significant portion did not hatch than usual. The primary reason for moving it was to allow greater access for ORVs to South Pt. on Ocracoke, and to prevent the complete closure of this area at the Day 50 closure expansion. Another major criteria for moving a nest is if it IS right next to a ramp, and blocking access.

Further, it is completely unfeasible to rake turtle closures every day. Over most of CAHA there are only 1 or 2 people on duty for each island every day in the Resources Department. ATVs do not pull drag fences well over sand. A 150 foot buffer required for turtle nests from nest to hard sand takes at least 1 hour to rake by one person. Multiply that by an average of 30 nests per district and you have one person spending 30 hours just raking tires tracks out of the sand. Not to mention the average 30 minutes it takes to remove all the blown sand from the filter fencing used to block out headlights at nights around every turtle nest after day 50. Generally there are 5-10 nests with filter fencing. On average as a biotech I spent 2-5 hours per day just digging back the sand that nature put there. There is no way current resources (paid or volunteer) can cope with removing the effects of ORV tracks.

And Pea Island is not under the jurisdiction of the NPS at all. It's a completely different agency who's mandate is different from the legislation establishing the NPS. The main mandate for the NPS system is to preserve as is for future generations. Other agencies within the federal system like the Forest Service under the Dept. of Agriculture are mandated as multi-use and have more relaxed rules and protocols about what can and cannot be done to the environment within their areas. The NPS is the strictes precisely so that there will be natural areas in the future.

Of the 3000 eggs laid every year on average on Ocracoke, only 3 of those babies are expected to grow to adulthood to reproduce. Don't you think giving those three a chance is worth it?

And the reason for full beach 24/7 nest-to-dune for pedestrians is what?

And the closure during the day for ORVs when the nests are enclosed by a barrier is what.

I would love to see the data to verify the 3/3000 statistic. Can you point me how and by whom this number was arrived? Or is this truthiness?

It's a fact the the turtles are nesting in large numbers on the whole east coast. It's also a fact that they are not endangered or threatened. So why the massive closures?
CHNS rangers kill so called predators of plovers, such as fox, racoons, feral cats and nutria yet go to EXTREME MEASURES for the turtles. Nest to dune closures, even if the nest is far from the dune. They also put up a black corridor to the water to guide them which is fine and I feel it is enough protection with a small roped off area. Closures to the dune line are unnecessary. It just seems to me that it's one more excuse to keep people off the beach.
As a resident of the area, I have seen businesses down this year and I fear it will get worse next year. I'm sure the economy plays a factor but the beach closures definately have contributed.
People come here yearly for our beaches, many of the most beautiful are accessible only by orv unless you can walk a couple of miles. Even walking is also out of the question with the closures.
Enough is enough. The park belongs to the prople and we can co-exhist but there are those who want humans out.

Just want to agree with what FHTS had to say about buisness being off this year.My family started coming to the OBX about 25 years ago.We fell in in love with Hatteras the first day there.We averaged two to four trip a year up until this year.We work hard all year to be able to do this.With the closures this year affecting most all of the areas we fish that changed.My family is now three familys.Of the three familys only one trip this year.We will be in Hatteras the 1st week of october.This trip was booked in oct of last year before the concent decree.My choice here is go or loose by money.No refunds for beach closures.We are one family.How many others who came this year will not be back next because of the closures.Many that come to the CHNS this year had no idea what was happening.I have all the respest in the world for our beaches and the wildlife that is there.But enough is enough.We can land on the moon .Fly around in space.But we can't figure out how to drive around a turtle nest without doing harm to the eggs.You've got to kidding.I feel for all of the buisness owners on the OBX.Next year will be worse if the management our beaches is not returned to NPS and access is returned.Thanks for listing. CLM

Sad stuff. I live in California and we keep motorized vehicles off most of our beaches, even proposing opening beaches up to vehicles would cause a riot. The internal combustion engine is dying, but it will take a generation for those die hards to let go. Go read a book about sea turtles- we've just about wiped them out, and we do not know what the effect of that will be. Such short sightedness. In CA fishermen and people who care about the ocean now for the most part work together on these issues. I sure hope that makes it's way east.

Sea turtles are indead protected under the endangered species act. You can check out the status of each species here: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/
Everyone is intitled to their opinion, but please, give the right facts. Pea Island is administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, not the NPS or Cape Hatteras NS. For years, the number of nests moved in Pea Island has raised concerns but they are usually moved because of possible loss. In the seashore, trained staff are allowed to move nests when the same conditions exist. Under previous superintendents, some nests were moved after pressure was brought to bear from ORV access groups because the nest location would cause a full beach closure.
Putting up the filter fence, which blocks light from houses, beach fires, and ORVs, framing the nest, expanding the enclosure all takes several hours. Volunteers are not the answer all the time. Cape Hatteras lost it's full time volunteer coordinator in the summer of 2006 and this position has not been replaced. At the time, the coordinator was based in the seashore and worked with the schools, community groups, and interested parties to encourage resource stewardship, help train volunteers, id projects, etc. Now, the volunteer program is managed by the chief of interpretation which is based 70 + miles away in Manteo and there is no full time coordinator. Do you really think the Chief of Interpretation really has time to put into a volunteer program? I wouldn't blame the superintendent for not wanting community volunteers--there is no one to train and oversee them.

Anon Ex-CAHA employee,

Thanks for pointing out the errors in my data. I’m certainly not an expert, but have become much more learned in these matters since April 30th of this year. As I've said before, the only benefit of the CD that I've truly seen so far is the knowledge that we have collectively gained about the species in question. Comments from on-the-ground folks like yourself help us all to learn more about this subject. Spirited debate such as this is also fruitful to all in that it is a great form of “Brainstorming”, where all ideas and opinions have merit.

Perhaps my time quotes necessary for raking nests are understated. However, my comments were not directed at raking every single nest out there, for that would be a daunting and probably impossible task. Rather, I was referring to only the nests that are adjacent to ramps/blocking through access from ramp to another, or are in high predation areas. While I respect your time and observations as an NPS Biotech, I would still very much like to see this theory tested. I’m not exaggerating about civilians wanting to volunteer their help, either. I still like to see theories scientifically tested and proven to either pass or fail, and not discarded off-hand.

Pursuant to the nests moved in PINWR versus CHNSRA, do I understand your comments to mean that PI is part of the DOA/USFS? I also comprehend that there are different protocols, procedures, etc. between the two bureaus. However, if we are talking simply about species conservation coupled with the plausibility of relocating turtle nests, ignoring which dept. of government that they report to, I still can’t see why it is done one place and not the other. EX: If a turtle nest in area A is moved for reason B, under gov’t. banner C, then I see no reason why a nest in area X cannot be moved for reason Y under banner Z. The hatchlings do not know the difference, and the risks are identical.

Yes, I would like nothing more than to see a better survival ration than 1:3000. As a PADI certified Divemaster, I have been lucky enough to encounter these intriguing and beautiful creatures on many occasions while on wreck dives off the Hatteras coast. They are truly a marvel to see while swimming, as their massive bulk is not a detriment to their movements in the underwater environment. I certainly wish them nothing but the best chances for survival.

However, I would pose this question to you: If moving only some of the nests and introducing the already proven technique of artificial incubation would produce better results than on-beach measures, would you give THAT a chance?

Anon
You are correct this is "Sad stuff".
You said " I live in California and we keep motorized vehicles off most of our beaches, Go read a book about sea turtles- we've just about wiped them out, and we do not know what the effect of that will be." So you dont allow vehicles on the beaches which are vastly different from our beaches here on the right coast. There really is no access to the beaches on Hatteras if you dont have an ORV or cottage rental on the beach.
By not allowing vehicles on the beach out there have you seen the turtle population rebound?
We seem to have an abundance of turtles here in the Chesapeake Bay. I see them almost everytime I go out on my boat 1-2 times a week. Im all for conservation of wildlife. The problem I have is people are willing to help but certain enviro org dont seem to want any help other than a donation!. Will money save or help with the turtle population if you have free volunteers working together? I dont think so. If it were really about the wildlife things would be done differently. I dont drive my ORV on Hatteras by choice but the crap that is being forced upon our so called free society is just that crap. The Interim Plan was a step in the right direction but without DOW and Audobon sueing how are they suppose to support theirselves. They need to make their payroll from somewhere and under the consent decree they did just that. Made their PAYROLL! You and I are paying their fees. Its all about the Money with them. You being from California and not knowing the geological layout of Hatteras yet commenting about ORV is tellng me alot about your views. Gay marriage is legal out there isn't it? You didnt hear me commenting on what happens in your state did you?

Such short sightedness.

I reckon it’s a lively debate when just about everybody disagrees with everybody else. And that tends to make picking a starting point a bit difficult when crafting a reply.

Starting at the top with the anonymous comment, “Nice to see that Cape Hatteras is finally doing what it needs to to protect wildlife at the seashore. It's been overrun by 4x4s for far too long” I’ll attempt to make some sense of whats here.

That comment is silly and clearly stems from a lack of understanding of how CHNSRA operates. Once again, someone makes the mistake that orv’s normally enjoy full access to all the beaches. That hasn’t been true for many, many years.

As far as NPS mandates concerning CHNSRA, the primary mission of this park unit is that of a recreational area. And only areas that are not suited for that purpose are to be set aside as primative wilderness. Any derogation from that primary mission is in direct violation of congressional law and only congress can change the nature of the park. Had congress desired CHNSRA to become a wilderness area, nature preserve etc…they would have done so as they crafted the Wilderness Act.

What makes managing access and wildlife at CHNSRA so difficult is an extrordinary lack of standard protocols and peer reviewed science. Peer reviewed science is required by USFW and USGS to support management policy. And yet, the policys enacted under the consent decree and even the Interim Management Strategy are unsupported and constitute opinion rather than fact. They also, as I pointed out earlier, are in direct conflict with congressional law. Whether you want to discuss birds or turtles, management policy differs everywhere depending on who happens to be calling the shots at the moment. Those that claim that “preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area… ” as their rallying cry are strangely silent when the point is made that no plovers were documented at the seashore untill 1960. Nor do we hear a complaint when the destruction of over 90 acres of highly successful bird habitat that was destroyed at CHNSRA is discussed. This occured during the tenure of Larry Belli as park superintendant.

With the turtles we again see mixed, non peer reviewed management policies at work. We also have a shining example of just how misunderstood these magnificant creatures are.

Turtle nests, as has been stated by a different “Anonymous” are in fact moved at CHNSRA. However, they are never moved to provide access for ORV’s. Nest safety in terms of overwash and erosion are the driving factors in relocation, not beach users. The problem is NPS doesn’t take in to account local knowledge in making that determination. Nor do they move all of the nests that will overwash or erode. Currently, there are two nests by Ramp 44 that have been overwashed repetedly at the tide for over a week. One is within it’s hatch window and the other is just days away. The issue here is that at this late stage of development, the turtles need a lot of oxygen that permiates the shell membrane, their little air bubble being largely gone. Matthew Godfrey, a NCWRC turtle biologist, explained to me that even a heavy rain can drown a nest at this stage.

The silt cloth in place for days is an issue also. It does funnel the water and sand to the nest. It has yet another unintended consequence in that Ghost crabs get trapped within that barrier and burrow. This has resulted in predation of the nest. Ironically, ORV’s limit Ghost crab numbers which benefits turtle and bird alike. Eliminating one of the primary Ghost crab predators, the racoon, by the hundreds, has resulted in an explosion of these voracious feeders. At the silt fence enclosed nest just south of Ramp 44, I counted with my binoculars, over 40 crab burrows within the closure. Those were all I could count contained within the silt fence to the fall of the beach toward the sea. Assuming the crabs havn’t found the nest yet, any hatchling emerging from that nest will have to run a gauntlet of 40 plus crabs just to begin it’s journey to the Gulf Stream. And this year, finding crab burrows with almost four inch diameters has been common place. Those of us that notice such things have been awed by this phenomenon. Obvioulsy, lack of predation and draconian ORV restrictions have done the crab well. Bear in mind that these crabs are the number one unfledged bird predator at CHNSRA and usually mark the primary reason of chick mortality.

Nobody knows just how many turtles there are. And nobody knows the true mortality rate from hatchling to sexual maturity which is thought to be around 20 years. The argument that the Atlantic population is threatened is based primarily in a decline in turtle nesting in Florida. Last year there were only just over 45,000 nests, down from the year before. But that’s not a fair figure as turtles don’t breed every year. On average that happens only once every three years with each turtle laying an average of five to seven nests per season. This year was a record year throughout the East Coast, with one notable exception; Cape Lookout National Seashore, CALO for short.

Research and public record amassed by NPS at CHNSRA and thoroughly compiled by a friend of mine shows that for over a decade, on average, CHNSRA lost about 45% of its turtle nests. The two factors involved have been erosion/drowning and predation. But not ORV traffic. The average nest containing 112 eggs, the math works out to tens of thousands of eggs lost.

Much ado has been made about the effects of night driving. I’ll have to agree with Anonymous and say that a trucks lights behind the nest can disorient the hatchlings. Of course that assumes that the ORV in question is actually parked behind the nest or otherwise remains stationary for an extended period. With all due respect, the only time Ive seen lights shining on turtles at CHNSRA involved “turtle people” wanting a photo such as the one within this article. Anyone truly familiar with CHNSRA knows that night driving has always been at a minimum. Stand on this sand long enough and you will begin to notice folks leave in two waves as evening approaches. One is dinner and the other darkness. Leaving only a handfull of vehicles on the beach. And we’re not driving between hatch window nests and the water; day or night. A passing vehicle will have little effect on turtle orientation especially as turtles cant see red, rendering tail lights moot.

The origional window for moving a nest is nine hours because of the dynamics involving an air bubble and a hatchling. Rotating the egg after this period will cause the turtle to drown. It’s not until about day 20 that sex is determined by nest temprature. So, in fact, there is a larger window for nest relocation. But rather than just increasing nest relocation, NPS should adopt the same management policy as is practiced at PINWR. There vounteers monitor the nests from dusk to midnight. A small garden border fence is unrolled and placed around the nest and continued to the sea. The sand in that narrow pathway is raked down to eliminate obstruction. If no turtles emerge, the fence is removed and a cage is placed over the nest which is inspected at dawn for any hatchlings. If found they will be released the following night to minimize predation. This practice funnels neither water or sand to the nest and doesn’t trap Ghost crabs.

Whats astounding is the CALO report for this year as it flies in the face of “environmentalist” reasoning. Particularly because CALO doesn’t have the piers, the villages, the ORV traffic, night driving ( when the CD allows) etc. that CHNSRA has. And yet without the illegal draconian restrictions placed upon the users of CHNSRA, their bird and turtle numbers are in the pits!
These results clearly demonstrate how little impact ORV and pedestrian users truly have. Storms cannot be blamed as we have had only one of note this year, so far.

The CALO numbers:

Seashore Sea Turtle Nesting Activity to date: Nests are hatching now.

North Core Banks- 93 activities, 35 nests, 4 digs*, 54 crawls
South Core Banks- 103 activities, 54 nests, 2 digs, 47 crawls
Shackleford Banks- 26 activities, 18 nests, 1 digs, 7 crawls

Seashore Total- 222 activities, 107 nests, 7 digs, 108 crawls

*digs are likely nests, but eggs were not found, will be investigated during and after hatch window

Sea Beach Amaranth:

North Core Banks- 0 plants
South Core Banks- 0 plants
Shackleford Banks- 76 plants

Piping Plover Summary: Preliminary Seashore results; 46 pairs, 57 nests, and 9
fledglings.

South Core Banks- 22 pairs, 29 nests, 7 fledglings
Ophelia Island- 2 pairs, 3 nests, 0 fledglings
Middle Core Banks- 6 pairs, 8 nests, 0 fledglings
North Core Banks- 16 pairs (2 singles), 17 nests, 2 fledglings
Shackleford Banks- 0 pair

American Oystercatcher Summary: Preliminary Seashore results; 62 pairs, 91 nests,
and 15 fledglings

South Core Banks- 24 pairs, 44 nests, 5 fledglings
Ophelia Island- 2 pairs, 2 nests, 0 fledglings
Middle Core Banks- 7 pairs, 6 nests, 7 fledglings
North Core Banks- 18 pairs, 22 nests, 3 fledglings
Shackleford Banks- 11 pairs, 17 nests, 0 fledglings

Colonial Waterbird Nesters:

South Core Banks- Five colonies
North Core Banks- Seven colonies, Old Drum Inlet still a few skimmer
chicks/fledglings on the soundside.
Middle Core Banks- Five colonies

Ok, once again, CALO doesn’t have the piers, the villages, the ORV traffic, night driving (when the CD allows) etc. that CHNSRA has.

But false crawls are equal to the number of nests.

56 Plover nests and only two more birds than were fledged from the 13 nests at CHNSRA.

The LETE, AMOY and Skimmer numbers are dismal as well. But none of this is due to ORV use at CALO. And none of it can be documented at CHNSRA.

There is no reason to believe that ORV users, which are comprised of a collection entirely of road legal, licensed trucks and wildlife cannot co-exist. But what’s also true is that I and many other pro access advocates promote the restoration of habitat destroyed and the creation of additional habitat soundside. This has proven succesful and is something that needs persued.
To appreciate just how redily that nature dictates the shape and features of this place one must take the time to understand how things work(normally) at CHNSRA. To do that you must come here and spend the time to appreciate just how dynamic this environment really is.

Wheat

There's no such animal as "peer-reviewed" management. You can have peer-reviewed science upon which management decisions are made, which does exist. I'm not sure what good it would do for managers at the Tetons, or Yellowstone to review the management policies at Hatteras anyway.

Corrected willingly. It should say non peer reviewed science based management policies at work.

Wheat

And you would be in error.

Check the references at the end of the recovery plans......

OMG!!!! What is your problem?!?! Please if you care that much about these so called "Endangered Species" then take them the heck away!!! Let us enjoy the beach while we still can!!! URG!!!!!!!!!!!