In an earlier article, we advised you that the National Marine Fisheries Service had published a proposed rule to designate marine critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle.
The rule proposes the designation of 36 areas along the southeast coast and Gulf of Mexico as marine critical habitat (CH) for the Northwest Atlantic DPS. Each of these areas has been identified as containing one or more of the following four habitat types:
(a) Nearshore Reproductive Habitat
(b) Winter Habitat
(c) Breeding Habitat
(d) Migratory Habitat
NMFS asked for comments regarding these proposed designations as well as “comment on whether to include in the final rule some areas that contain foraging habitat and two large areas that contain Sargassum habitat.”
The NMFS proposal was based on scientific data analyses and economic impact analyses that contained significant shortcomings which must be addressed before the final rule is established. We believe the designation of any CH must be based on the proper application of regulations established by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Most importantly, NMFS must base its recommendation for each CH on the best available science (including a thorough analysis of the best available historical data) and on an accurate assessment of the CH’s importance to the survival of the species. It must also give proper consideration to economic and social impacts due to any CH designation it makes.
The full OBPA response submitted to the NMFS can be read here.
The OBPA will publish a summary of our views on the issues that affect our membership and which must be appropriately addressed by NOAA during this process. We will publish our recommendations prior to the meeting for our members to consider in their official comments.
We encourage all to comment of this important matter, and to attend the meeting in Manteo on November 21, 2013 if you are able. Comments are due by 11/29/2013.
The announcement published 11/4/2013 in the Federal Register follows.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 226
Proposed Designation of Marine Critical Habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta caretta, Under the Endangered Species Act; Public Hearing
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of public hearing.
SUMMARY: We, NMFS, will hold a public hearing related to our Proposed Designation of Marine Critical Habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta caretta, under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
DATES: The public hearing will be held on November 21, 2013, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
ADDRESSES: The hearing will be held at: Dare County Administration Building, Dare County Board of Commissioners Meeting Room, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo, NC 27954.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Susan Pultz, NMFS Office of Protected
Resources, Silver Spring, MD,
NMFS staff will present a brief overview of the Proposed Rule titled Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Loggerhead Sea Turtle Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and Determination Regarding Critical Habitat for the North Pacific Ocean Loggerhead DPS. Following this overview, members of the public will have the opportunity to go on record with comments on the proposed designation. Members of the public may also submit written comments at the hearing, or via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. To do the latter, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0079-0002 , click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 18, 2013 (78 FR 43006) and may be obtained at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0079-0002 or https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/07/18/2013-17204/endangered-andthreatened-species-designation-ofcritical-habitat-for-the-northwestatlantic-ocean
More information and background documents can be found at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/loggerhead.htm
Scroll down to ‘‘Key Documents.’’
Speaker Sign Up
Doors will open for registration at 6:30 p.m. for sign-up and seating. Time allotted will depend upon the number of speakers but will likely be limited to 5 minutes each. Registered speakers will be asked to indicate their full name, contact information, and the identity of any organizations on whose behalf they may be speaking.
The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids should be directed to Susan Pultz (see ADDRESSES) 3 days prior to the meeting.
OBPA Annual Members Meeting
1:00 p.m. Saturday, October 26, 2013
Dear OBPA Members;
The Outer Banks Preservation Association will hold its annual members meeting on Saturday October 26, 2013 at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, 47231 Light Plant Road Buxton N.C. 27920 at 1:00 pm. The annual meeting will consist of a report from the president for the prior year and up-to-date informational reports to the membership by the Officers and committees. No business will be conducted at this meeting. Minutes of the meeting will be posted at www.obpa.org. After the meeting, the Board of Directors will answer any questions members might have. Hope to see you there.
House of Representatives:
- 2/26/2013 - House Bill H.R. 819, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act, was introduced by Congressman Walter B. Jones.
- 3/14/2013 - The House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held a Legislative hearing on H.R. 819. Congressman Walter B. Jones and Dare County Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge provided testimony at this hearing in Washington, D.C.
- 5/15/2013 – H.R. 819 approved 24 – 17 by House Natural Resources Committee.
- 7/9/2013 – H.R. 819 reported by the Committee and placed on the Union Calendar item 106.
- 3/7/2013 - Senate Bill S.486, Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, was introduced by Senators Burr and cosponsored by Senator Hagan.
- 4/23/2013 - The Senate Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S.486.
- 6/17/2013 – Senator Burr introduced an amendment to S. 486 cosponsored by Senator Hagan.
- The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously approved an amendment to S. 486 in the nature of a substitute.
- 9/10/2013 – Senator Wyden, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, reported S. 486 with amendment in the nature of a substitute to the Senate.
- 9/10/2013 – S.486 placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar item number 180. Floor debate and vote have not yet been scheduled.
What can you do?
- Contact your Senators and urge them to support S.486 and take the steps necessary to bring to the floor and pass this legislation.
- CHAPA vs Salazar(DOI), Jarvis(NPS), Murray(CAHA) case 1:12-cd-00219 which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 9, 2012. Remains active in 2013.
- 12/23/2012 – Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued an order to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for Eastern District NC where it was subsequently assigned to Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The new case number is 2:13-cv-1-BO.
- 2/25/2013 – Court issued Scheduling Order for motions to be filed by the parties in the case.
- 4/18/2013 – Court granted plaintiff’s (CHAPA) motion for extension of time to file motion for summary judgment from 4/19/2013 to 7/10/2013 with similar extensions for other scheduled dates.
- 7/10/2013 – Plaintiff (CHAPA) filed motion for Summary Judgment. (See OBPA website to read motion)
- 9/10/2013 – Court granted defendants’ (DOI) motion for extension of time to file motion for summary judgment from 9/10/2013 to 10/8/2013. Plaintiff’s (CHAPA) response will be due 12/12/2013 and defendants’ replies will be due 1/13/2014.
- 7/31/2013 - CHAPA submitted a response to the NPS request for comment to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Proposal to Facilitate Additional Public Beach Access – Environmental Assessment.
- 9/14/2013 – OBPA submitted comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposed rule to designate terrestrial critical habitat for the Loggerhead sea turtle.
- The OBPA regularly communicates with local and federal officials to concerning issues that may affect access within CHNSRA to ensure the viewpoints of our membership are understood.
- The OBPA keeps its membership and the public informed on matters relevant to access within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore through the following venues:
- Website: www.obpa.org
- Emails: via ConstantContact, permission-based, announcements and informational updates
Visit www.obpa.org for the most current information on Free and Open Access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area
The rule considers all beaches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi as potential candidates for designation for the Loggerhead Northwest Atlantic Distinct Population Segment. A total of 184 different beach segments ranging in length from 0.2 km to 90.0 km are found in these states. Total length for all beach segments considered is 2,464 km. Of the 184 segments, 90 segments totaling 1,189.9 km are being proposed as Critical Habitat designation.
In North Carolina, eight beach segments totaling 154.6 km are proposed as critical habitat. These segments are Bogue Banks, Bear Island, Topsail Island, Lea-Hutaff Island, Pleasure Island, Bald Head Island, Oak Island and Holden Beach.
Neither Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area nor Cape Lookout National Seashore are designated as Critical Habitat in the current proposal.
The Southern Environmental Law Center submitted comments asking that both CAHA and CALO be added to the designated Critical Habitat units.
The OBPA made ten recommendations in the comments it submitted. One recommendation was that Cape Hatteras not be added to the Critical Habitat designation. A second recommendation was that no beaches in North Carolina should be designated as Critical Habitat. In each case, the OBPA argued that the nest counts and nest density per kilometer compared to other beach segments within the six states are far too low for Cape Hatteras or other North Carolina beaches to be considered critical to the survival of the species.
Click here to read the comments, details for these two recommendations and the other eight recommendations submitted.
National Parks Subcommittee Hearing Scheduled 4/23/2013 - S.486
The Senate Subcommittee on National Parks announced a hearing to be held on 4/23/2013 to hear testimony on 14 National Parks Bills iincluding S. 486 - To authorize pedestrian and motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Recreational Area, and for other purposes.
The full agenda for the hearing can be viewed at
We will update this article as inofrmation becomes available.