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Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!

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An update on the never-ending saga of replacing the Bonner Bridge

Friday 30 October 2009 at 7:48 pm Dare County officials were expecting a record of decision – the final step before contracts are put out for bid – on the $300 million Bonner Bridge replacement by the end of October.

That did not happen.  And, according to Jim Trogdon, chief operating officer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the earliest that the record of decision (ROD) might be issued is the end of November.

Even that might be overly optimistic, but Trogdon says that DOT still expects to open the bidding for contracts next February and that the design-build bridge project should be completed by 2014.

“I’m disappointed that it seem to be taking so long – again,” Beth Midgett, chairwoman of the Dare County Citizens Committee to Replace the Bridge Now, said yesterday about the latest timeline on the ROD. Read More

Protecting sea turtle nests, Florida style…WITH SLIDE SHOW

Friday 23 October 2009 at 08:20 am Last month, Larry Hardham brought me some photos that his son took at three Florida beaches at the height of the sea turtle nesting season.

Larry is president of the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club and a board member of the Outer Banks Preservation Association.  He was also a member of the negotiated rulemaking committee that met for months to try to come up with an ORV rule at Cape Hatteras. And he knows more about sea turtles than any other non-scientist I know – maybe even any scientist.

Although I have been reporting on and writing about sea turtle nesting on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for almost two decades, I was amazed and astounded when I looked at Chris Hardham’s photos.

Even though the nesting sea turtles are federally protected as endangered or threatened, there are apparently regional differences in how they are protected.

Here on the seashore, we reached a record 112 turtle nests last year.  

The nests have been protected by the Park Service for years. Read More

NPS director names first-ever science advisor... great idea but will it help Cape Hatteras?

Friday 16 October 2009 at 4:06 pm The National Park Service’s new leader, Jon Jarvis, has appointed Dr. Gary Machlis as the first-ever science advisor to the director.

The science advisor, according to a media release, will play a key role in advancing science within the Park Service and advising the NPS director on science policy and programs.
 
“Applying the very best science and scholarly research to management of national parks is critical,” Jarvis said in the release. “The appointment of Dr. Machlis to this new and important position will advance the role of science within our agency as we meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Dr. Machlis is a proven leader and innovator within the scientific community.” Read More

More on the misleading media campaign to declare the consent decree a success

Tuesday 13 October 2009 at 4:40 pm I have now written two blogs on the misleading misinformation – the most polite way to say it – that has come from the environmental groups that sued the National Park Service over its lack of ORV rules on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches.

The result of that lawsuit, of course, was the consent decree that now substitutes for management of seashore beaches by the National Park Service.

I certainly did not expect to write again so soon about this misinformation campaign by Defenders of Wildlife, the National Audubon Society, and their attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law Center.

However, there have been several developments since I last wrote about the SELC misleading media release a week ago. Read More

Another misinformed and misleading SELC media release

Wednesday 07 October 2009 at 09:18 am

The Southern Environmental Law Center fired another volley in its misinformation campaign about beach access in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore with yet another media release on Monday, Oct. 5.

This release closely follows the spin that environmental groups have put on this issue thus far.  

The topic of both was the alleged success of the consent decree that has replaced resource management by the National Park Service at the seashore beaches and the attempt by access advocates to have that consent decree overturned by passing legislation in Congress.

Read More