Loggerhead Sea Turtle Crushed By Vehicle At Cape Hatteras National Seashore

A loggerhead sea turtle that came ashore at Cape Hatteras National Seashore to lay its eggs was killed when a vehicle drove over it. NPS photos.

A loggerhead sea turtle coming ashore to lay its eggs was crushed by a vehicle at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, an incident likely to ratchet up the contentious debate over how much access off-road vehicles should have at the seashore.

The incident comes as seashore officials are pulling together a final Environmental Impact Statement on a proposed management plan for ORVs driving on the seashore's beaches. Seashore officials discovered the dead turtle Thursday morning about 50 feet from the Atlantic Ocean.

"We don’t know if it happened late the night of the 23rd or early morning of the 24th," Thayer Broili, the seashore's resource management chief, said Friday morning. "It happened on Ocracoke Island, towards the southern end of the Ocracoke Island, between two of the ramps, 70 and 72. We’ve reported it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and our rangers are doing an investigation."

Loggerhead turtles are a threatened species throughout their range under the Endangered Species Act. Adults can have a shell ranging up to 3 feet in length, and can top out at 250 pounds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Females don't reach sexual maturity until they're 35 years old, according to the agency.

Photos of the dead turtle clearly show that the vehicle rode right over it and then apparently became high-centered, as the driver backed up in an effort to free his rig, according to Chief Broili.

"In all likelihood it was an off-road vehicle to even be there," the chief said. "And they drug it about 12 feet. It appears that they stopped. They realized that they run over something and got out and looked and ran back over it. The turtle was a pregnant female that came ashore to lay its eggs and apparently it was migrating up or down the beach. We did recover some eggs the next morning, which we have transplanted to a nest, we don’t know if they’ll survive or not.”

While three species of sea turtles -- threatened green sea turtles, endangered leatherback sea turtles, and threatened loggerhead turtles -- come ashore to nest at Cape Hatteras, to date it has been a tiny bird -- the piping plover -- that seemingly casts the greatest shadow over the seashore’s management. These grayish-white birds with a black neck band, yellow legs, and a distinctive chirp are somewhat curious in their preference for nesting habitat, as they make small bowl-like depressions in the sand to lay eggs that blend in so well they can easily be overlooked and, unfortunately, easily crushed by feet and tires and available to predators.

Unfortunately, for Cape Hatteras beach-goers, these birds nest from late spring through July, and restrictions imposed to protect the birds block some stretches of seashore from those who prefer to drive their vehicles on the beach.

Now, though, the attention has been shifted dramatically to the plight of sea turtles that come ashore to nest. The seashore's sea turtle population has been doing relatively well in recent years. Last year the 104 verified nests were far above the 43 counted just five years ago. Those 2009 nests also produced roughly 5,000 turtle hatchlings, according to the seashore's annual sea turtle report.

Despite the relative boom in turtle nesting in 2009, there was no direct connection last year between ORVs and a sea turtle's death on Cape Hatteras, although there were some minor infractions, according to the seashore's annual report.

ORV violations of turtle closures were relatively rare. There were several accounts of vehicles driving below (i.e. ocean-side of) the expanded turtle closures in the morning before any washed out signs in the intertidal zone could be replaced. It is unknown how many hatchlings, if any, were affected by these actions, either by being run over or by being stuck in tire tracks. There were no observed losses to this type of violation, although it is known that hatchlings were emerging from NO30 (a green nest) during the same night that some of these violations took place (see above)

That said, there were at least two notable exceptions to that observation:

NBH10: On the morning of July 26th, staff on turtle patrol for the Bodie Hatteras District noticed that a nest closure was “missing” in the tri-village area. After going back through the area, she found that someone had removed the four signs, string, flagging, and PVC poles that were surrounding the nest site. Two of the signs were later found 0.2 miles down the beach. One sign was found behind the primary dune line with the PVC poles and the fourth sign was never recovered. Many sets of pedestrian footprints were found over the nest site. The eggs were checked and the closure re-installed at the expanded size. As the nest had a good success, it is unlikely that this incident resulted in any harm to the nest itself.

NH33: On the morning of September 2, staff on the turtle patrol for the Hatteras South run noticed that string was down at the NH33 nest site, which was an expanded closure just north of Ramp 49. It was found that a vehicle had driven though the sting at one end of the closure, run through the filter fencing, and then exited the closure by driving through the string at the other end. It is unknown whether the vehicle was also in violation of the CD nighttime driving restriction. The filter fencing was repaired and the closure expanded. There was no observed damage to the actual nest.

Chief Broili said this week's incident is the first anyone can recall in which a vehicle killed a sea turtle. The seashore's chief ranger on Ocracoke Island has been with the Park Service for 33 years, and grew up on the island, "and he said this is the first time that he’s aware of this ever happening," said the chief.

The section of beach where the turtle was killed is closed to vehicles overnight beginning at 10 p.m. under the seashore's temporary ORV regulations.

"We have night-driving regulations and everybody is supposed to be off the beach by 10 o’clock," said Chief Broili. "We think this happened after that, but we have no way to prove it.”

The incident comes just as turtle nesting on the national seashore is ramping up, according to the chief. So far 37 or 38 nests have been counted, he said.

"Overall, the past couple years have been very good for our turtles. We still don’t know what the overall season will be," said Chief Broili, "but this one poor individual got caught in a bad situation.”

Park Service rangers are being aided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents in investigating the matter.

“Who knows what this guy was doing," said Chief Broili. "It would seem that anybody who was driving down the beach at night with their lights on would see it. Who knows? This person could have been under the influence, young kids, relatively young people who were just ripping around not paying attention to what they were doing. Who knows? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that they did this intentionally.

"Who knows what the motives of people are?" he added. "They definitely knew that something had happened."

Comments

This is unacceptable. Ban driving on the beach entirely during nesting season. It's ridiculous.

And the attitude of the people down there at Hatteras, just like all the idiots who insist we keep on drilling in the Gulf while knowing full well the oil industry doesn't know the first thing about averting disaster, astounds me. It sickens me. I hope someday there is a reckoning.

This article seriously upset and depressed me. I hope they find the people responsible and throw the book at them. Of course the fines are never enough to compensate for this. I just can't understand how someone couldn't have seen a 3ft long turtle on the beach. I know it was night but vehicles have headlights. I can see mice run across the road at night with headlights on! I have a feeling that this was done on purpose. I may be wrong but it seems to me that the type of person that would ignore the regulations would have no problem smushing a turtle. I know several boys in my hometown that would do the same thing if they saw a box turtle on the road.

I hope her eggs hatch so that her efforts are not in vain.

"Unfortunately, for Cape Hatteras beach-goers, these birds nest from late spring through July, and restrictions imposed to protect the birds block some stretches of seashore from those who prefer to drive their vehicles on the beach."

If you are going to write something, then make sure it's factual.

These Major streches of beach closures are off limits to all Pedestrians and ORVs. Not-to-mention Dogs, kite flying and everything short of getting in the water people come to our beaches to do. Along with--these are our absulute best and most popular beaches.

Funny. The beaches in the Gulf are being closed to an enviromental disaster and revenue is being lost by the second and everyone cries and hollars foul.

Close a beach for the enviroment, which has the same effect and everyone says..Close more.

You should pat yourselfs on the back for a job well--screwed up.

How about no vehicle access!

And here we go with the "ban all driving down there" comments.....THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THIS HAS BEEN KNOW TO HAPPEN.....It is very sad, and it should have never happened but you can't control all idiots of the world. You could have the beaches at Hatteras permanently closed to driving forever and if someone wants to act like an idiot and drive anyway, they will......Perhaps the next time an endangered frog or salamander is run over on a highway somewhere in this country we should permanently close that road to all traffic....What needs to happen is NPS Law Enforcement should be focusing on Ocracoke right now and look for an SUV with undercarriage damage. No way someone could hit a turtle that size and not leave evidence.

First, the Kemp's ridley trussed up and drowned while being dragged behind a boat off Topsail Island, now this. I can't escape the realization that both these outrages occurred during an Administration that thinks so little of animals that there's still no movement whatsoever from Washington about BP's burning turtles alive in an effort to make its oil spill invisible. This is a hateful and ill-equipped White House.

At least George W. Bush was comfortable outdoors; remember all those times we saw him clearing brush on his ranch? You notice animals when you do chores. Compare that to the footage of Obama on the Gulf shore. I was reminded of Nixon walking on the beach in his wingtips and necktie. When Obama wanted a pet for his daughters, he consulted a Senator for Chrissake! We need a president who understands why people relate to turtles and birds and want them to continue to be around.

I don’t care if the public doesn’t want to hear about the suffering of marine animals. Five years, ten years, fifty years from now, that is all that will matter to Americans. Even those who don’t live at the shore — if anyone still does. When I ask my friends’ children about it, they are devastated to learn that they may never be able to see a live Kemp’s ridley sea turtle -- as I just did for the first time recently -- or a polar bear, for example.


From the NPS press release

"It is believed to be the first time a nesting sea turtle has been killed by an ORV at the Seashore."

Sort of parallels gun control. More rules, less guns, more crime.

No turtle ever harmed by vehicle for almost 60 yrs. In go the draconian Consent Decree rules and bingo, a problem.

My guess, rule breaker was driving without lights so as not to be seen and thus never saw the turtle. Had lights been on under pre-Consent Decree days, likely would not have happen.

The law of unintended consequences proven once again.

There is no reason that people need to drive on beaches, period, let alone at nesting season. The OBX redneck bullies who are so loudly in opposition to any limitations on ORV access are NOT the majority, they are just the loudest. They make all OBXers look like backwards, inbred, banjo-pickin' hillbillies, but they are outnumbered and out-funded by smarter and more rational people who are sickened -- but certainly not surprised -- by this. Accident? No. The rednecks who did this deliberately backed up over the turtle a second time. I'm sure they have one of the plover circle/slash stickers on their truck and probably a rebel flag as well. The OBX would be (or shall I say WILL be) so much nicer when the redneck trash is extinct. Luckily these inbred morons have no money, as well as no education (as shown by their handmade anti-gummint signs along NC 12) so they will be overruled by those who understand that the "way of life" in OBX is tied to the well-being of the environment there. They hate the government (and the fact that, oh lawdy, they's a black man in office) until it is their turn to cash their social security checks -- that, and driving on OUR beach (not THEIR beach) is their entitlement. Find the redneck trash that did this and do the same to them.

To Extinction For Rednecks-You my friend just showed YOUR complete lack of intelligence, intellect, and complete lack of any common sense. Whew......I'd hate to be the recipient of your genes down the line (and that does not mean blue jeans.......)

Do you need to drive on the beach? Are you so lazy you can't get off your DUFF!! and walk like most people?

I'm not sure about Cape Hatteras, but I do know that on Assateague it's a very long walk to get to the fishing spots. I do not like driving on the beach, but I do sympathize with the fishermen who want to get away from the masses and who don't want to carry all their gear. I've gone surf fishing and I wouldn't want to walk 2+ miles with that stuff. I think I agree that this was done by some yahoo that wasn't out there for any reason but to cause trouble. The fishermen I know would not do something like this.

Submitted by Evan Wilson (not verified) on June 25, 2010 - 1:52pm.

Right on Evan boy. Yes indeedy. It's all Obama's fault. Yup. Probably has something to do with that birth certificate.

I visited Cape Hatteras in late March, the off-season. I stopped by the local pub, and the locals there were chatting about stuff like this. Clearly these particular guys cared more about riding their trucks on the beach, making the roads wider, trenching the waterways to build better bridges, etc. than they did about their local environment. They also proceeded to say that it's "out of towners" or part-time residents who shove our environmental stuff down their throats and "screw it up for everybody".

I've heard stuff like this throughout all my travels. People think their livelihood and the environment can't coexist. "It's me or the turtles". So ridiculously short-sighted. These folks likely make their living off that very environment that they want to dig up. People want to go there because its beautiful and want to see wildlife and, yes, sea turtles.

Here in the crowded Northeast we've managed to ruin practically everything. It's all paved or polluted or overpopulated. I'm sorry if I don't want that for the rest of the country. And I can't understand you if you are trying to make your own corner of the world like ours.

For Jim-Spoken from someone who has clearly never been to CHNSRA. This has been gone through over and over and over and over..................If you have never been there you do not understand the terrain, dynamics, access areas, etc. Go there and drag your gear from the limited parking areas to the beach. If you don't drive out in an ORV this is your only choice. Better be a world class athlete........

Prolly a Park Service vehicle !!

To Lee Dalton:

Is there anything, sir, in my post that indicated I blame it "all" on Obama. Until the oil spill I supported him, even here in Texas where he sure ain't very popular.

I certainly never wrote anything about his birth certificate. I even was pledged to him in my nominating convention and executed my pledge. But I would decline to do that next time.

It's his lack of leadership that I intended to indict.

When we're talking about the North Carolina coast, I take second seat to no one. You've obviously never heard my speech, "The Three Billion Dollar Oyster." Or searched my work at the Outer Banks History Center.

I just finished two years of documenting Sea Turtles on Miami Beach.
I was also a permited volunteer.
There are some real heartless people down here.
The things people do to our turtles is Unbelievable.
Judging from the photos, this person ran this turtle over on purpose.

Turtle Dude

@RangerLady

Agreed. Thanks for a calm, sensible response, which is often hard to find on this subject. It is very difficult for somebody even in good shape to walk that long a distance, to Cape Point, say, (when it's open) with all that gear. And, as you say, this was likely done by some foolish person, probably not a fisherman. If headlights were on, a 3-foot sea turtle is not easy to miss. (Unless it was intentional). SalvoJimmy makes sense that somebody was trying to get past Consent Decree by driving without lights on, which is pretty foolish, even in a near-full moon.

I think I'm inferring from SalvoJimmy's post that he believes Consent Decree is to blame for this sea turtle's death. I can't follow that. It sounds like he's saying "Environmental (or as he mentions, gun control) laws will be broken, so we shouldn't have them."?

Jim

It is pretty clear you know very little about Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There are very few access points to the beaches, let alone available parking, for beach goers. Driving is the only way for access many areas. Besides I guess it is perfectly ok with you for those of us with disabilities and can't walk long distance to be disallowed from enjoying the beach.

The "My right to drive on the beach trumps other species right to exist" contingent of the access groups are already accusing NPS staff of killing the turtle.

http://forum.reddrumtackle.com/showthread.php?p=148902#post148902

These people are shameless.

I have never posted here before, but the photo of the poor turtle truly sickens me. I have no sympathy for anyone complaining about beach closures and access.

If you live in the Cape Hatteras area, you can get to a beach. You may not be able to visit the section of beach you want, but you are not being denied the right to visit any and all beach space. There is plenty of beach for you. And about access, I know that walking isn't fun, especially with gear and all, but if you are an able-bodied person, can't you just do it anyway??

Seriously, does everything have to be about the convenience and pleasure of humans??

We have taken over just about every corner of this planet with little to absolute no regard for our fellow species, can the turtles and piping plovers not have just this one tiny section of land on which they can be safe??

And to the person comparing this incident to killing an animal on the highway-roads are man-made structures built specifically for driving. The beach is not a road! No one needs to drive on the beach! But it's really all just about us, isn't it??

The people who did this were in violation of the consent decree, and while this may be the first time a nesting turtle has been brutally and intentionally killed, it is certainly not the first time that those on the pro-driving-on-the-beach side have broken the law because they don't like it when rules apply to them. (Also, this article does not mention it but at least one ORV destroyed a nearby nest as well.) For the person who thinks all this is justified because otherwise disabled people wouldn't be able to enjoy the beach, do your homework. There are beach wheelchairs available and many Florida beaches make them available free of charge for those who need them. No need to drive on the beach. It is really amazing that these lazy rednecks (who admit here that it is all about convenience -- waaaah, you have to be in good shape to walk that far, waaahh) claim that their situation is like what is happening to those affected by the BP spill. Seriously? Why stop there? Why not claim you're just like the Jews in the Halocaust, only you're the victims of heartless educated normal people who think you can walk ... down to the surf like people everywhere else in the country do? Why not claim the environmentalists are like jihadists flying planes into your economic double-wides? What needs to happen is A) the consent decree should be vacated due to repeated violations by the access crowd. B) this article needs to be seen by everyone who rents those huge beach houses all along the OBX (houses that the access crowd could not afford to rent, btw) and they need to flex their economic muscle and say ENOUGH. No one NEEDS to drive on the beach. Build some drive-on piers like they have in Florida and aside from that it is authorized vehicles only.

To the people who say there are no parking areas and beach accesses... um, are you blind? They are everywhere along NC 12. I was there 2 weeks ago and stopped at several between Rodanthe and Hatteras and had no trouble finding parking.

The ignorant comments here and on all the other message boards from the "we hate animals and those who love them" and the "F&^* the plovers and turtles" crowd are really, in the end, a very good thing. They show the hateful and juvenile mentality of the access crowd, and believe me, these comments are all viewed by the actual decision makers who will decide the fate of the ORV management plan. So, keep it up.....

This comment was edited. -- Ed.

I'm not saying there should be no rules. Driving between 2200-0600 is banned under the CD (consent decree) and the turtle was run over. Thus driving during the CD curfew without lights so as not to get caught was a likely contributor. But adding further driving restriction as many advocate will not likely help.

Deterrent and punishment for existing rule violations are usually much more effective than an added restrictive rules.

Some of us asked that we be allowed to drive onto the beach before the curfew, park with no lights and not drive off until after the curfew. We could have enjoyed the beach at night doing whatever, been no threat to turtles and certainly deter violators as well as even report them. We were denied with the excuse that sooner or later someone would move a vehicle during the curfew. Well someone did move one and they ran over a turtle.

And before someone says why don't you just walk out there and stay the night. Well sometimes there is a rain storm, many times with lightning, blowing sand, sometimes the wind dies and the bugs swarms, etc. The parked vehicle is shelter. And as some point out it can carry some stuff. Think potty for the 8+ hour stay along with maybe a chair and a cooler with food / drink.

Accidents happen. I'm sure this wasn't done on purpose. And as for Hatteras's "ATTITUDE", we take care of our beachs. We Care for our wildlife. We care for our lively hood. The tourists are more responsible for the destruction of the beachs and wildlife. So before you make a snotty comment about our "attitude", why not come down and see how we handle ourselves. Or better yet, let me take from you something that makes not only you but your entire town more well more than half of its yearly income. Something that was granted to you years ago.

@ Anonymous June 26, 2010 - 3:08pm

There seems to be something missing from your post. Let me fix it for you:

"The tourists are more responsible for the destruction of the beachs and wildlife. But we don't care if the levels of visitation are sustainable, just as long as we can take their money."

I visit Cape Hatteras Seashore often. A segment of the local population think they own our Seashore. They are full of vile and hatred and have no respect or interst in wildlife and nature, except for killing fish. ... I have heard they kick Park Service staff out of businesses.

Fortunately some environmental organizations and lawyers have wrapped them around their own truck axles, totally whipped them, and got a judge to adopt a plan to protect the wildlife. Under that plan the night driving truck that killed the turtle was illegal, but you still hear them trying to defend it - saying they were probably driving without lights as if that makes it okay. Last year I heard they stomped on some turtle nests - I guess this was also because they did not have lights.

We all need to work to make this unfortunate female turtle a martyr for her species. If you are as outraged and disgusted about this as me, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. WRITE OR EMAIL the Park Service director in Washington and the supervisor at Cape Hatteras. Tell them this is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE on a national park. Tell them to GET THE VEHICLES OFF THE BEACH. Remind them the Seashore is for all Americans and not a selfish few.

This comment was edited.-- Ed.

The focus and outcry of the enviro's should be focused on the NPS. Where is the outcry for their failure to move turtle nests laid in known overwash areas? It is sad what happened to this turtle but how does one incident lead to the need to ban all driving on the beach? To those who say folks are lazy who drive on the beach have clearly never visited the Seashore. Not everyone can spend upwards of $6000 a week to rent an oceanfront home, ORV is the only means of access for the average visitor. As for everyone who thinks folks down there are tearing a$$ on the sand with their Confederate flags waving- you are extremely ignorant.

Just a friendly reminder from the Traveler that while we certainly encourage comments, we really appreciate it when they're constructive. I think everyone -- folks on both sides -- agrees that the killing of the turtle was reprehensible and unnecessary.

Having skimmed a fishing forum frequented by more than a few surf casters from the Outer Banks, I can assure you most of them are outraged over this incident as well, and rightly fear that it will be used against them.

Hopefully, the individual(s) responsible will either come forward and acknowledge their mistake, or someone will tip authorities to the individual.

In the meantime, posting gratuitous, demeaning, and downright ugly comments won't achieve any good. And so, rather than wasting any more time trying to edit out the offending language, we'll just delete them from here on out.

Rick in Md,
The NPS relocates around 30 percent of nests from areas prone to washover and erosion.
From their reports, the early nests do well, but if tropical storms hit (w/in 500 miles as they have in the last 3-4 years) late in the season, because of the man-made dunes and erosion, no part of the beach is immune to overwash from the surge.
Incubating nests can tolerate some overwash, but hatching nests and/or pre-emergent hatchlings cannot.

Crotalus-

Have you read the report authored by Larry Hardlam and Bob Davis? It is entitled “Sea Turtle Management – A Common Sense Approach for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.” I would recommend all those posted comments who say 'ORVs=Bad' read this report and direct their outrage according toward the NPS. Your comment is unfounded based on these gentlemen's research. From the report- "The insistence on natural nesting from 2000-2009 caused an inordinate loss of 46% of nests by normal Hatteras weather and wave action." There are many any damning statistics in the report regarding the current strategy. The management of CHNSRA should have considered this type of on the ground research when formulating the DEIS. As I said, the loss on one turtle to a truck is tragic, but the real tragedy is the lack of flexibility of the NPS on the entire issue.

Rick,

That "report" is nothing more than cherry-picked facts and falsehoods wrapped around a forgone conclusion - move all nests so they don't effect access with some crocodile tears thrown in for good measure.
Just one example from memory, without subjecting myself to reading it again, is the claim more nests used to be relocated to "safe areas". The truth is more nests were removed from "safe areas" - areas where they were in conflict with access.
But once hurricane season starts and storms come passing by, there's actually no such thing as a safe area.

Hardam and Davis are ORV advocates. They are not biologists. The North Carolina state sea turtle management plan developed by biologists and turtle experts says leave turtle nests in place unless they are imminently threatened. The proposal for wholesale relocation of nests has nothing to do with the welfare of turtles and everthing to do with getting inconvenient nests out of the way of ORVs. These are the same folks who recommend no protection of terns, oystercatcher and other special concern species because they are not yet endangered. If you have not written the Park Service about the tragic and unnecessary death of the turtle by an ORV on your Seashore please do so today.

Ah, half the story Anonymous, and a bit of misleading spin.

The "special concern species" are designated by the state and the state has commented to NPS that the protections presently being afforded by NPS to these species are not required by the state's designation. Access advocates like Hardam and Davis say only afford the state designated species what is required by the state designation, not "no protection" as you say.

Salvo Jimmy,
Gordon Meyers doesn't establish park policy and park policy states:
The National Park Service will inventory, monitor, and
manage state and locally listed species in a manner similar
to its treatment of federally listed species to the greatest
extent possible
. In addition, the Service will inventory other
native species that are of special management concern to
parks (such as rare, declining, sensitive, or unique species
and their habitats) and will manage them to maintain their
natural distribution and abundance.

4.4.2.2 NPS Management Policies (2006)

Crot

I know perfectly well what NPS policy says, but it is overkill for what NC intended with their designation. Might be perfectly applicable in another state but not in NC.

North Carolina law says the NC Wildlife Commission has a duty to protect special concern species. Myers just ignored the law. Why? Myers is just a political hack for Senator Basnight and Dare County went to the Senator to tell the wildlife agency what to say. Myers is also not a biologist but built boat ramps and owes his job to Senator Basnight. The Park Service knows all this. And Crotalus has it exactly right. It is Park Service policy that matters, not the politically directed opinions of the state wildlife agency. The only thing the wildlife agency has accomplished in ignoring the science and its own biologists is to destroy any respect for them as managers of the state's wildlife. Myers predecesor refused a political directive to fire one his employees for no cause and he was fired. Myers has no such guts.

Sorry Anonymous, but policy is not law.

How about provide the specific section of the NC code that has what you say about protection. Last time I looked monitor was the word used not protection.

Crotulas-

I cannot get see the justification of your argument. Hardam and Davis may be ORV advocates as you say, how does this negate the validity of bringing other points of view to the table? How can you diminish the success of other states re turtle nesting using alternative strategies? By your measure, all studies done on Plovers by Walker Golder and other biologists should be summarily dismissed as the majority are certainly anti-access. See Audubon letter with the multitude of State/Federal employees as co-signers.

Just to be clear where I'm coming from on special concern species. This is the definition from the NC ESA.


(8) "Special concern species" means any species of wild animal native or once-native to North Carolina which is determined by the Wildlife Resources Commission to require monitoring but which may be taken under regulations adopted under the provisions of this Article.
[unquote]

Just because a bird happens to be on the NC "Protected Animal List" does not necessarily mean it gets any special "protection". Note monitor is the operative word in the definition and take could be allowed.

The fact that its ON the state protected list, does in fact mean it receives legal protection. Additionally, it is a FEDERALLY protected species. In either case, it can not be taken without a permit, and that permit is not like a game tag.. there are only certain circumstances where the take would be allowed.. and this wasnt one of them, nor was there a permit in place to take one. Period. This was a violation of state and federal law, and should be treated as such.

It might help if the ORV community would help police this kind of behavior, as a Floridian, and a coastal biologist, Ive know this scenario well.

If this type of destruction continues and ORVS or trucks are banned from the beach, you can thank your fellow non compliant beach drivers, not environmentalists or law enforcement.

Howie,

I believe you are talking about the turtle. I was responding to Anonymus (see his 6.27 post) re protecting birds on the NC special concern list that are not on any federal list.

Totally different issue.

BTW Howie, some of us have tried to help.

See my 6/26 post. We were shot down.

Regarding the discussion of special concern species in North Carolina by previous posters.

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission has the "function, purpose, and duty" to "manage, restore, develop, cultivate, conserve, protect, and regulate" the wildlife resources of NC. 143-239. The Commission has the authority to designate "special concern species." 113-334. If a species is designated "special concern" the Commission must develop "a conservation plan for the recovery" of the species. 113-333. "Conservation" means "all methods, procedures and biological information for the purpose of bringing populations of native and once-native species of wildlife in balance with the optimum carrying capacity of their habitat, and maintaining such balance." 113-331(1).

113-331(8) requires that the Commission monitor special concern species, clarifies that special concern species may not be subject to the prohibition against taking in 113-337 depending on Commission regulations, but does nothing to diminish the duty of the Commission outlined above to take all actions to recover special concern species.

The previous posters are also correct that all this really does not matter legally because the obligation to protect and recover these species is a legal obligation of the Park Service under federal law regardless of state law.

Are you really defending Bush's environmental record?

Re Park Service legal obligation.

As indicated by Crot it's a policy decision which is not a legal obligation.

And as far as I can determine, the state's "plans" do not include the measures in the consent decree (CD). Now the CD is law until it goes away next year.

Rick in Md,

You have confused my post w/the one which followed it. The "report" is spin and distortions cherry-picked to support an a priori conclusion.

Salvo Jimmy,
You offered to sit out at the Point and camp/fish all night. How about sitting at the ramps all night?
As far as your next point, the NPS can't ignore their own policies, so they are the same as law for the NPS.

The beaches of CHNS are messed up. The NPS mangers turned the area they were trusted to protect into something that the founders of the first National Seashore would have been appalled at. The NPS is number one in line for blame and should suck it up and correct it. I doubt it will happen.

All the explanations from the ORV side (it is a joke to call them the access side) are just self justifications to do what they want, which is to have as much unfettered ORV access to the Seashore as they can. Their biggest farce is using “recreation” as justification for their wants.

The dead turtle could just as likely be a person that had fallen asleep on the beach in front of Avon in the fall or a child playing in the sand on Frisco village beach.

I wish I had never bought oceanfront property in Cape Hatteras.

Gee Crot more spinning. I'm getting dizzy.

My post never mentioned Point, camp or fish. I had making out more in mind.

As I recall the sit at ramp idea (neighborhood watch approach) came up at REG-NEG (public comment ???) but was rejected by NPS or maybe never got off the ground. Memory fades on that one. My proposal was in writing to NPS and responded to same way.

And I agree NPS has to follow their policy but it can be easily changed and should be, especially considering state law does not require such policy.

Forgot, would I sit at a ramp all night. Probably not. But I might take say a 2 - 4 hr shift much like I've done in neighborhood watches. My guess is NPS would be paranoid about such a watch taking a vigilante turn and never allow it.

Now for you Crot,

Would you sit at a ramp all night???? Or do you participate in the NCBBA and OBPA beach and highway cleanups ????