Carteret County’s public officials may be even more opposed to designating their beaches as critical habitat for endangered loggerhead turtles than Cape Fear-area leaders. Thursday night’s Morehead City public hearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule drew more than 100 citizens—compared to around 30 who attended Tuesday’s hearing in Charleston, and Wilmington’s 80 on Wednesday. Fish and Wildlife will now draft another version of the rule.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service faced local opposition at last night’s public hearing on its proposed rule that would designate hundreds of miles of beaches along the North Carolina coast as critical habitat for endangered loggerhead turtles. Much of the same land doubles as a critical habitat for the wintering piping plover, a threatened shorebird. Fish and Wildlife faced similar contention in 2001 when this rule went into effect. But since then, they’ve seen a gradual recovery in the piping plover population.