A New Rule Balances Wildlife and Off-Road-Vehicle Use on a North Carolina Beach

A New Rule Balances Wildlife and Off-Road-Vehicle Use on a North Carolina Beach

Congressional legislation and a pending civil suit threaten the future of a new rule that protects wildlife and allows vehicles on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. 

By Anna Sanders
Published: 06/12/2012
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Anna Sanders

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine

Comments

Cro, are you saying the 700

Cro, are you saying the 700 acre buffer is floating? So, the buffer is not tied to a nest or anything, it just moves around with mobile chicks? How do they determine the center of buffer area, and therefore the buffer extents. Does this change hourly, daily, weekly?

Common sense please...

Of course it floats with the chicks. What sense would it make to have a 1,000-meter buffer on the nest and the brood moves 1,001 meters away from where the nest was?
You'll have to ask the NPS about their methodology in dealing with their movements.

'How much coin must fill your hands'

You should check to see how much tax money is collected from Hatteras Island and Ocracoke island for Dare and Hyde county. Dare county is a donor county and helps support some of the poorer counties in the state. Please also check the state taxes collected, some of it may be coming your way.

House bill a sham!

Whoa wait a minute there Ginny and her posse. This is Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It is one of the 10 National Seashores that is run, administered and staffed  by the National Park Service. It is not a recreational area ( yes I'm aware there is an antiquated version of the seashore that includes recreation in the title) or an ORV parkway  beach.

Just so we don't get confused here is the contentious park of the Enabling legislation for CHNS.

"Except for certain portions of the area, deemed to be especially adaptable for recreational uses, particularly swimming, boating, sailing, fishing, and other recreational activities of similar nature, which shall be developed for such uses as needed, the said area shall be permanently reserved as a primitive wilderness and no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions now prevailing in this area . . .

(Aug. 17, 1937, ch. 687, Sec. 4, 50 Stat. 670; June 29, 1940, ch. 459, Sec. 1, 54 Stat. 702; Mar. 6, 1946, ch. 50, 60 Stat. 32.)"

Just because you find it inconvenient to access the beach on foot the EL doesn't give you and your friends the right to drive vehicles roughshod over the rest of us or the flora and fauna. Simple fact If the beach is open to ORV use that beach will not be "wild and pristine". At any time there could be a car every parked every 20 feet. Most all of the pristine and wild beaches were designated as ORV routes for part of the year in the Park's plan. Allowing any ORV use on these beaches was a compromise. You all got way more beach driving than was fair or appropriate for the "unique flora and fauna or the physiographic conditions".

If that house bill goes through and the Interim plan is put into place it will be on all the beaches open ORV use for 8 months a year.

You ORVers are a deceitful  narcissistic  bunch.

Cape Hatteras ORV Restrictions

I am a retired scientist (entomologist) who greatly appreciates nature and respects wildlife. Throughout my entire career I have been concerned with statistical data concerning many scientific projects. Nowhere in this voluminous document (Consent Decree) have I seen any statistical data, which incriminates Off Road Vehicles (ORV's) with the decline of Piping Plover (PP) populations on the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina.

The DECIS lists the ebb and flow of PP populations over the years but no statistics on this data is presented which links population decline with the use of ORV’s. Rather, there is incrimination by inference. As mentioned in the DECIS, many factors affect Piping Plover populations such as climate, predators and other natural phenomena. I could not find any statistical data which points to ORV’s rather than climate or say predators instigating the decline of PP numbers.

North Carolina is the southern most range of the PP. No PP’s were found in South Carolina during the 2008 survey. A clear majority of the population was found in the northern states of Massachusetts (566) and New York (443) while 64 were found in North Carolina. The state of Maine on the other hand is the most northerly range of the PP where 10 were counted in 2008.

This population distribution can be graphed into a bell shaped curve i.e. Normal Distribution graph. Variability exists in every biological population. The greatest variability in the PP population exists at its extremities (North Carolina and Maine). The least variability is found in the states, which harbor the largest numbers (Massachusetts and New York). Statistically speaking, it is very difficult if not impossible to have a high degree of confidence in North Carolina PP numbers used to make important decisions on beach closures.

As a result of my above commentary, I strongly disagree with the National Park Service (NPS) decision to regulate ORV traffic and close beach access based on PP population numbers. I will be one of the first people to applaud ORV beach closures if shown concrete statistical evidence that ORV's are to blame for reducing marine bird populations.

This is a case of horribly bad science and a disgrace to the NPS.

For a scientist, you're not

For a scientist, you're not making much sense.
First, the piping plover's Atlantic coast population doesn't stop at our border with Canada. The last I read, there were more than 200 pair north of the border. Habitat loss and conversion has precipitated the decline of the PIPL more than any other factor. And yes, when you have a reduced population, natural phenomena have an increased impact on the populations. Which as you should know, increases the importance of having a wide distribution of the species so the effects of singular events' - storms, disease, etc - on the entire population are minimized.

It has been known for many decades that beach nesting species are prone to lose both nests and chicks to ORVs on the beach and that other human disturbance also contribute to nest and chick losses for all the beach nesting species. (do a lit search, start with Wilcox, The Auk, 1959 ) The decision to regulate ORVs is based on the law (an executive order mandating agencies in the executive branch comply with NEPA), not just plover numbers. The extent of those regulations do address impacts to the resource and protections for all beach nesting species, not just the piping plover.

Do you need a refresher in population ecology and genetics as well? You should know that we can't keep nibbling at the edges of a population's distribution until it's finally isolated into a single location. The results can be bottlenecks, disease and vulnerability to catastrophic events.

And finally, no one has said ORV use on the beach is the only cause of reduced populations - habitat loss, followed by introduced exotic/invasive species are - but it and other human disturbances are contributing factors. Again, all you need to do is search the literature. Surely you don't suggest, as others have, that since we can't control the natural factors, we should not control the things we can control, like ORVs and other human disturbance which negatively impact beach nesting species?

All I could find in a lit search shows the majority of your work was in the efficacy of urban insecticides (on cockroaches) for a chemical manufacturer, and not the recovery of endangered or threatened populations/ecology, no?

Obx Orv Restrictions

Well you didn’t disappoint me Mr. or Ms. Cro. Just as I suspected, you choose to hide in the shadows not identifying yourself as to your qualifications while demeaning others. I ask again, what qualifications do you have to comment on this subject?

I suggest you take a course in statistics. The subject covers ALL areas of science be it entomology or population ecology. I NEVER portrayed myself as an expert in population ecology. Those are your words not mine. Yours is just another instance of trying to make a case of incrimination by inference, which is similar to the consent decree.

You say, quote.” I set myself up so that others accept my statements as fact because I claim to be a scientist or subject expert.” Well you finally said something that is correct. My statements are fact. There is no statistical data incriminationg ORV’s rather than population dynamics, climate, or predators for the low numbers of Piping Plovers on the OBX. Anyone, including you, can do a literature search as I did and not find any statistrical data.

You show your ignorance of statistics when you say..quote ” What statistical data do you need? Anything >0 is all that’s required.” I can definetly say now that you have no scientific background whatsoever. Your statement is absolutely absurb. Science would still be back in the dark ages if everyone thought as you. Statistics has been used on EVERY important modern scientific project to verify the truth and not use speculation or supposition to come to a valid conclusion.

You list 12 references which are supposed to justify your argument. I COULD NOT find any one of these references which show a statistical significant correlation between ORV’s and Piping Plovers. I may have missed one and if so, please let me know which one.

The biologicasl lifestyles of Oyster catchers, Hooded Plovers and Colonial Waterbirds all differ from that of Piping Plovers. In case you forgot, the subject is Piping Plover numbers on the OBX. You even try to muddy the water further, probably for those who think as you, by bringing sea turtles and general wildlife into the discussion.

What are you inferring when you state..quote “Just in case you think it's an aberration or people are just making it up that human activities negatively impact wildlife.” You must be kidding, Everyone knows that human activities impact wildlife. Whether it is beneficial or detrimental is determined through the use of statistics. Believe it or not some avian species have benefited from human activities such as robins and certain raptors.

By far and away human activities have been detrimental to wildlife. As I stated in my original posting I appreciate nature and respect wildlife even though you try to make me and others, who don’t agree with the Audubon, to be ogres hell bent on intentially smashing Plover eggs with ORV’s.

Wise up and understand that everything the Audubon proposes is NOT always correct. The confrontation of ORV restrictions on the OBX is one of cases where the Audubon is wrong.

I WILL NOT go away Mr. or Ms. Cro. I anxiously await your responce

ORV Restrictions on the OBX

Well you didn’t disappoint me Mr. or Ms. Cro. Just as I suspected, you choose to hide in the shadows not identifying yourself as to your qualifications while demeaning others. I ask again, what qualifications do you have to comment on this subject?

I suggest you take a course in statistics. The subject covers ALL areas of science be it entomology or population ecology. I NEVER portrayed myself as an expert in population ecology. Those are your words not mine. Yours is just another instance of trying to make a case of incrimination by inference, which is similar to the consent decree.

You say, quote.” I set myself up so that others accept my statements as fact because I claim to be a scientist or subject expert.” Well you finally said something that is correct. My statements are fact. There is no statistical data incriminationg ORV’s rather than population dynamics, climate, or predators for the low numbers of Piping Plovers on the OBX. Anyone, including you, can do a literature search as I did and not find any statistrical data.

You show your ignorance of statistics when you say..quote ” What statistical data do you need? Anything >0 is all that’s required.” I can definetly say now that you have no scientific background whatsoever. Your statement is absolutely absurb. Science would still be back in the dark ages if everyone thought as you. Statistics has been used on EVERY important modern scientific project to verify the truth and not use speculation or supposition to come to a valid conclusion.

You list 12 references which are supposed to justify your argument. I COULD NOT find any one of these references which show a statistical significant correlation between ORV’s and Piping Plovers. I may have missed one and if so, please let me know which one.

The biologicasl lifestyles of Oyster catchers, Hooded Plovers and Colonial Waterbirds all differ from that of Piping Plovers. In case you forgot, the subject is Piping Plover numbers on the OBX. You even try to muddy the water further, probably for those who think as you, by bringing sea turtles and general wildlife into the discussion.

What are you inferring when you state..quote “Just in case you think it's an aberration or people are just making it up that human activities negatively impact wildlife.” You must be kidding, Everyone knows that human activities impact wildlife. Whether it is beneficial or detrimental is determined through the use of statistics. Believe it or not some avian species have benefited from human activities such as robins and certain raptors.

By far and away human activities have been detrimental to wildlife. As I stated in my original posting I appreciate nature and respect wildlife even though you try to make me and others, who don’t agree with the Audubon, to be ogres hell bent on intentially smashing Plover eggs with ORV’s.

Wise up and understand that everything the Audubon proposes is NOT always correct. The confrontation of ORV restrictions on the OBX is one of cases where the Audubon is wrong.

I WILL NOT go away Mr. or Ms. Cro. I anxiously await your responce

No salutation, just Cro

You're obfuscating the issue.

Fact 1:
On every beach where shorebirds have been intensely studied or monitored, adults, chicks and nests have been documented as being killed or ran over by ORVs. (citations in previous post)

Fact 2:
It's absurd to demand we need biologists travel back in time to count every single adult, chick or nest ran over since the automobile was invented to get your "statistic" when we know Fact 1.
.
Fact 3:
You can manufacture what ever statistic you want, but the avoidable deaths of adults and offspring will never be beneficial to stressed/reduced populations.

Fact 4:
It's not just about plover. It's about protecting the resource - which includes all the beach-nesting species - as mandated by Congress.

Fact 5:
Audubon doesn't inform my opinion.

I am surprised to find a "scientist" from the school of "since we don't know everything, we don't know anything." You must have traveled a very circuitous route.

And finally, no I don't believe you're all "ogres hell bent on intentially [sic] smashing Plover eggs with ORV’s", I do believe some (as in not all) of "you" are just narcissists centered on fulfilling your own desires and don't really care whether or not you kill beach nesting wildlife with your ORVs in pursuit of those desires.

OBX ORV Restrictions

Mr. or Ms. Cro, you are making this too easy for me to respond. It’s really getting boring hearing you say the same things over and over again only changing the wording.

Initially, I am not obscuring the issue; it’s you that is obfuscating. My responses have been clear and factual while you have tried to confuse the issue by going off on tangents and misdirecting attention to other animal species, which has nothing to do with the problem on the OBX.

In answer to your first 3 Facts, please present any statistical evidence. You lose! It cannot be done.

In answer to fact 4, we both know that the OBX Piping Plover issue is political and has the backing of Audubon money. The Consent Decree would never have made it this far if people arguing against the Audubon had the money to hire countless attorneys, as does the Audubon.

In answer to Fact 5, I NEVER said that Audubon informs you of your opinion. But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.

And lastly, you gave in a little when you said in your last paragraph quote “I do believe some (as in not all) of you are just narcissists…” Cannot the same be said for some of the people affiliated with the Audubon? Or are you that naïve and lame to believe that all people associated with the Audubon carry a bible under their arm have no hidden agenda and do not hide the truth. If you think this way, I feel very sorry for you.

I rest my case. Unless you can come up with factual, concrete, valid statistical data I see no reason to continue this debate. I have better things to do than argue with someone as
uninformed and narrow minded as you.

You may now return to your lair lurking around while hiding your identity, something I’ll never be guilty of doing.

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