Turtle habitat designation for Bogue Banks draws concern

Published: Friday, August 9, 2013 at 06:43 PM.

Some locals and state officials say designating Bogue Banks and other North Carolina beaches as critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles is a bad idea.

That was the message that almost 40 speakers conveyed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during a two-hour public hearing Thursday night in Morehead City.

About 100 people attended the hearing.

It’s not that the beach residents don’t care about the turtles. Rather, they said, critical habitat designation would add unnecessary regulation.

And likely higher costs not reflected in the federal agency’s economic analysis.

Town Manager Brian Kramer used a February beach nourishment project in the town to illustrate the costly and extensive procedures and measures already required to protect sea turtles when conducting projects such as beach nourishment.

“This project was driven by environmental considerations in general and protection of sea turtles in particular,” Kramer said. “Turtles dictated when the project took place. Turtles dictated how the dredges had to move through the borrow site. Turtles dictated our financial risk. And turtles ultimately affected our costs and how much sand we placed on the beach.”

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