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Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111
Outer Banks Group Superintendent Mike Murray announced today that National Park Service (NPS) staff will begin establishing pre-nesting areas for piping plovers at Cape Hatteras National Seashore beginning March 26, 2007 in accordance with the Interim Protected Species Management Strategy.
The areas to be posted are based on breeding areas used in the past three years and a recent habitat assessment conducted by Seashore natural resource staff to adapt the closures to current conditions. These temporary closures will be installed on sections of the Bodie Island Spit, Cape Point, South Beach, Hatteras Spit, and Ocracoke South Point prior to April 1. To the extent possible at these sites, the NPS will maintain an off-road vehicle (ORV) corridor or alternate route to maintain access to popular fishing and recreation areas. The pre-nesting areas will be marked with "symbolic fencing" consisting of wooden posts, bird usage signs, string and flagging tape.
The habitat assessment also determined there is some viable piping plover habitat on the north end of Ocracoke Island. As an initial step, NPS staff will delineate an ORV corridor at North Ocracoke and periodically monitor the site for piping plover activity.
"The pre-nesting areas are critically important early in the breeding season to allow protected birds relatively undisturbed habitat to define territories, find a mate, forage for food, and establish nest sites, " said Superintendent Murray. "I have personally reviewed and approved the configuration for this year’s closures. It is to the benefit of both the birds and park visitors that the birds are given the best opportunity to successfully establish nests early in the season, which will increase the likelihood that piping plover breeding activity is completed before peak summer visitation begins in July."
Members of the park management team will be on site during the installation of the closures to answer questions from visitors and residents. See schedule below.
· Monday, March 26th at Bodie Island Spit. Installation begins at 9:00 a.m.
· Tuesday, March 27th at Cape Point and South Beach. Installation begins at 9:00 a.m.
· Wednesday, March 28th at Hatteras Spit. Installation begins at 9:00 a.m.
· Thursday, March 29th at Ocracoke South Point. Installation begins at 10:00 a.m.