got to post it in parts, to big for this board.
When Congress established Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area in 1937 its intent was to permanently provide for all Americans a unique area for their enjoyment and use.
For years now, those of us who utilize this unique resource have been under assault by a variety of environmental special interest groups who would deny us access, but not themselves. They have tried compaction studies attempting to show that ORVs’ were damaging the beach. Only to find their data lost when it rained or a storm occurred. They have filed lawsuit after lawsuit in federal court claiming harm and inadequate protection for the birds and turtles that nest here. And in each case where evidence was heard from both sides in the court, they were sent packing. Quite simply, their claims were refuted by sound science and law. All of this, again, at the expense of the American taxpayer. What occurred April 30th, 2008, in Judge Terrence Boyle’s court changed everything.
It’s the Piping Plover that has become the “poster child” for these groups.
The plover is a relative newcomer to CHNSRA. Every bird study conducted between 1900 and 1959 show that it was not until 1960 that the first birds arrived in the Park. Plovers nest independently of one another and not in colonies. They neither feed nor care for their young from the moment they hatch. They nest in areas that are subject to frequent overwash and frequently lose nests as a result. This has already occurred at CHNSRA in the 2008 breeding season, and not just with plovers. Predation has also taken its toll this year.
The Piping Plovers that nest at CHNSRA are part of the Atlantic breeding population which is considered “threatened”, not endangered. It is very important to understand that CHNSRA is on the extreme Southern edge of the Plovers breeding range which accounts for the historically low numbers within the Park. Most Plovers nest well north of the Park, from Virginias’ Eastern Shore to Newfoundland, Canada; with the majority of nesting occurring mid-range.
I am an individual who has utilized this resource, this National Seashore Recreation Area, for almost three decades. And like many, am so familiar with this beach system that predicting structure changes, overwash, and the like comes as second nature. Collectively, we possess more first hand knowledge of the workings of the beaches and the wildlife at CHNSRA than any environmental group in existence. It is, therefore, no surprise that an Alberta, Canada Plover study contains the following statement: “human presence in an area can be a very effective form of predator deterrence.” (USFW 2000) Interesting as well is a statement by Tim Gallagher editor-in-chief of Living Bird magazine, published in the spring 2000 edition; “But the large number of people always present at beaches does have a remarkable taming effect on birds.” This reflects what we see daily as we visit our cherished beaches.