Turtle habitat designation for Bogue Banks draws concern

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

The designation does not create a wildlife refuge, reserve or park. Fish and Wildlife officials said it does not impose restrictions on non-federal lands unless federal funds, permits or activities are involved.

Fish and Wildlife biologist Ann Marie Lauritsen said critical habitat already has been designated in the area for other species and has not prevented projects, such as beach nourishment.

“Critical habitat designation allows us to focus efforts (to protect the sea turtles) on these areas,” she said.

Tom Roller of Beaufort spoke in favor of the designation.

As long as loggerheads qualify for the critically endangered distinction, the potential for their regulation remains.

Opposition expressed at the public hearing included residents and local and state officials.

Braxton Davis, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, spoke on behalf of Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla and raised concerns about the proposed designation.

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