On the morning of August 21, National Park Service staff found a Green Sea Turtle severely injured near a nest site. It was evident that the turtle had been injured by a vehicle driving on the beach. The turtle was too damaged for medical attention and was euthanized on the scene. We would like to remind all off road vehicle drivers to be attentive to potential nesting wildlife and carefully avoid them. Incidents like this can hurt responsible beach driver's access to areas in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and could set back hard fought policy changes implemented last year. If you have information that could help NPS find the person who did this please contact them. Information to contact them can be found in the following NPS Press Release.
Outer Banks Group
News Release - Cape Hatteras National Seashore
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2016 16-050
Contact: Boone Vandzura, 252-475-8307
Nesting Sea Turtle Found Severely Injured on Cape Hatteras National Seashore Beach
On the morning of Sunday, August 21, Cape Hatteras National Seashore personnel found a severely injured sea turtle on the beach approximately 0.66 miles north of Ramp 32. The sea turtle, identified as a threatened species Green sea turtle (chelonia mydas), is believed to have come onto the beach some time in the evening, or night, of August 20 in order to lay a nest in the sand. Turtle tracks led from the ocean to the nesting site approximately twenty feet above the high tide line in an off-road vehicle travel area. The turtle had begun to lay eggs into a nest dug into the sand when it is believed, based on significant evidence found at the scene, that a motor vehicle struck and ran over the nesting turtle. The incident was not reported by the involved party.
The injuries to the sea turtle were so severe that the turtle had to be euthanized by National Park Service staff. Nine sea turtle eggs were found immediately adjacent to the injured turtle. Biological technicians working at the scene were able to salvage an additional 172 eggs which were deposited in a nest site nearby in hope that these eggs will eventually hatch in a natural state.
National Park Service rangers are working with federal, state, and local authorities to understand the circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information that may help determine the circumstances and events that led to the severe injuries of this sea turtle are asked to contact the Dare County Community Crimeline. For more information, please contact: http://darecommunitycrimeline.org or call 252-473-3111 or 800-745-2746.
Superintendent David Hallac stated, "this is a tragic and unfortunate incident. We ask that all people utilize caution and look carefully for nesting wildlife when enjoying the Seashore's beaches.” Visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore are reminded that sea turtles, while predominately nesting during nighttime hours, may be present on Seashore beaches at any hour of the day. The maximum speed limit in off-road vehicle areas is 15 miles per hour. Nighttime driving restrictions are in place during summer months to protect nesting sea turtles. All off-road vehicles must be off of Seashore beaches no later than 9:00 pm.
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On February 17, the National Park Service released for public review the the Environmental Assessment (EA) for consideration of modifications to the ORV rule currently in effect at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. As described in the press release below, public comments can be submitted during the 30 day period ending on March 18, 2016.
You will recall that the NPS conducted scoping meetings during the summer of 2015. At that time, OBPA submitted proposals for consideration. Those proposals can be reviewed in other articles on this website. OBPA will compare the EA to the 2015 proposals and submit comments accordingly during the next 30 days.
Your individual participation in the EA comment period is also critical to the success of our efforts to improve access at the Seashore.
OBPA urges you the review the press release and the EA and provide comments. As you may recall, the promulgation of the rule is a long, highly regulated process. The current rule was implemented in February, 2012. Rule changes can only be implemented after following the same process used to establish the original rule. Therefore, opportunitiies to make rule changes such as the ones under consideration now are few and far between.
The EA is a 169 page document prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). While you may not want to read the entire document, you will want to review the three alternatives discussed by the NPS. Page 51 of the document (actual page 59 within the pdf) is titled "Table 1.Alternative Summary". The NPS preferred alternative is Alternative 2. These alternatives are described in detail with accompanying maps in other sections of the EA.
A link to the one page Alternative summary follows the NPS press release below.
Click here to open or download the entire EA in pdf format.
Cape Hatteras National SeashorePlease submit your comments now!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2016 16-013
Available for Public Review and Comment
Consideration of Modifications to the Final Rule for Off Road Vehicle Management Environmental Assessment
Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) released today, for public review, an environmental assessment (EA) for the consideration of modification to the final rule for off road vehicle (ORV) management. The Seashore is holding public comment meetings to consider changes to the ORV special regulation (final rule) as it relates to morning opening of beaches, extending the length of fall and spring seasonal ORV routes, and modifying the size and location of vehicle free areas. This EA, prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, will be open for review and comment for 30 days from February 17 - March 18, 2016.
This EA was prepared in response to the Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291) pertaining to the Seashore’s Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Plan.
Seashore staff will conduct five public meetings to provide information on the EA and receive public comments. The public meetings are scheduled as follows:
- February 26, 2016, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
- February 29, 2016, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Embassy Suites by Hilton Hampton Hotel Convention Center & Spa, 1700 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA 23666
- March 1, 2016, 6 p.m.– 8 p.m. – Cape Hatteras Secondary School, 48576 Hwy 12, Buxton, NC 27920
- March 2, 2016, 6 p.m.– 8 p.m. – Ocracoke School, 120 Schoolhouse Rd, Ocracoke Island, NC 27960
- March 3, 2016, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street, NC State University Campus, Raleigh, NC 27695
The EA is available for review and comment at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha-orv-ea. Select the “Open for Comment” link to view and comment on the EA. 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 March 18, 2016. 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 at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/parkmgmt/2015ndaact.htm.