March 31st, 2012 11:08 EST
Protecting Rare Birds and Sea Turtles
We need your help fighting the latest attack that threatens birds, sea turtles, and pedestrians at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.
U.S. Representative Walter Jones has introduced legislation aimed at overturning the National Park Service`s balanced, science-based new rules designed to protect nesting and young sea turtles and birds "as well as pedestrians " by managing off-road vehicle traffic. The bill would abolish the plan and allow for off-road vehicle (ORV) use across the entire park, destroying nesting sites and chicks in their wake.
Stop this bad beach driving bill in its tracks. Send a message to your members of Congress to let them know that you support protecting the rare birds and sea turtles of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
As a national park, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has been required under federal law since 1972 to establish beach-driving rules. Most national seashores either have regulations in place to manage and restrict ORV use or do not allow ORV use at all. With temporary beach driving rules implemented in April 2008, beach-nesting birds and sea turtles at Cape Hatteras showed signs of recovery after reaching alarming lows.
No piping plover chicks survived to fledge in 2002 and 2004, but 15 chicks fledged in 2010 and ten fledged in 2011. And a record-breaking 153 sea turtle nests were recorded in 2010 and 147 sea turtle nests were recorded in 2011.
The Park Service released their plan after an extensive public comment process in which the majority of people supported better management of off-road vehicles. ORV advocates represent just a small minority of the 2.5 million people that visit Cape Hatteras National Seashore every year. This bill caters to the demands of one special interest group and would open the entire Seashore to driving with little regulation.
The park service`s new rules already allow ORV use on the majority of the Seashore. The plan also increases visitor access to beaches. The new rules represent a balance between recreational use, pedestrian use, and the needs of wildlife. We can`t let this legislation undermine the great comeback birds and wildlife are making at Cape Hatteras and set a dangerous precedent for weakening vehicle management at other national parks.
Tell your legislators to stop this bad bill and uphold critical protections for wildlife at Cape Hatteras.
President & CEO
For more information about conservation efforts at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, please visit www.preservehatteras.org.