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Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Mike Murray announced today the approval of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Interim Protected Species Management Strategy. The FONSI was approved on July 13, 2007 by Regional Director Patricia Hooks, and culminates nearly two years of planning in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore provides breeding and migration grounds for piping plovers and other federally protected species including sea turtles and shorebirds. The Seashore is heavily visited, including by off-road vehicle (ORV) users, during the wildlife breeding season. While the number of human visitors to the Seashore has grown, the breeding population or occurrence of the protected species has declined. Executive Orders 11644 and 11989 and NPS regulation (36 CFR 4.10) require that off-road vehicle (ORV) routes and areas be designated by regulation. Despite previous attempts, the Seashore does not have an ORV management plan or regulation.
In January 2006 the National Park Service (NPS) issued an Interim Protected Species Management Strategy/Environmental Assessment (strategy) to provide guidance until a long-term ORV management plan/environmental impact statement and federal regulation can be developed. In August 2006 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued a biological opinion that implementation of the strategy is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the threatened or endangered species involved.
This issuance of the FONSI finalizes the interim strategy. The FONSI document and related attachments can be obtained through the National Park Service (NPS) Planning, Environment and Public Comment system (PEPC) at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/CAHA. Click on Interim Protected Species Management Strategy, then click on Document List.