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Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Raleigh Field Office, Raleigh. NC and the National Park Service, Cape Hatteras National Seashore (NPS) announced today that the biological opinion on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Interim Protected Species Management Strategy has been completed. The biological opinion is available to the public at http://nc-es.fws.gov/ and at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha under "Interim Protected Species Management Strategy."
The document will soon be available at all Dare County libraries and the Ocracoke library.
The Biological Opinion evaluated the affects of NPS Strategy on the piping plover, seabeach amaranth and sea turtles. "This was a challenging consultation with multiple species and several interrelated activities" said Pete Benjamin, Supervisor, Raleigh Field Office. "The Biological Opinion does not change the Park Service’s strategy or their management of the Park," he said. "We will continue to work closely with them and other stakeholders on proper management for protected species."
The completion of a biological opinion by the USFWS is part of a formal process initiated by the NPS to meet the mandates of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In that, the Seashore is required to consult with the USFWS on Federal actions that may affect Threatened and Endangered species. The Interim Strategy is considered such an action, necessitating the need for a biological opinion. A biological opinion is the document that states the opinion of the USFWS as to whether or not the Federal action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.
Now that the biological opinion is completed, the NPS can move forward in its required planning process to complete a final decision on the Interim Strategy. After the final decision is published, the NPS will begin implementation of the Interim Strategy.