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!

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They are showing us the science?

Friday 26 March 2010 at 1:22 pm Sometimes, if you don’t want to hear the answer, you should not ask the question

Earlier, this week the National Park Service issued a media release that said the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) had published “A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Information Related to the Biology and Management of Species of Special Concern at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina,” a 100-page report, by Jonathan B. Cohen and others.

This newly published document, the release said, is the same one that was previously released and posted on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Park Planning Web site on March 3, 2006.

These USGS management, monitoring, and protection protocols for threatened and endangered species and species of special concern at the seashore are also known as the Patuxent Protocols and have been a point of contention as the Park Service has plowed through the difficult work of developing an off-road vehicle management plan for the seashore. Read More

We are asking, but they aren’t telling

Friday 19 March 2010 at 5:42 pm I’ve started to write this blog several times this week.  I almost got to the end at one point.

I was just waiting for some response from the Department of Interior or National Park Service in Washington, D.C.

So now it’s Friday at 4 p.m. and there is no response – or at least no acceptable response.

So let me start at the beginning.

Sandy Semans, editor of The Outer Banks Sentinel, began pursuing the issue of the scientists who signed a National Audubon Society produced letter endorsing the strictest management protocols.  Quite a few signed with their government affiliation, which, on the surface seems a violation of the federal ethics policy. Read More

Keep asking them to show us the science

Friday 12 March 2010 at 5:27 pm If the Fish and Wildlife Service had a reputation of reasonableness in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, my letter would feature an entirely different tone and text.  Unfortunately, like this Revised Recovery Plan, your agency has a reputation of indifference to the human and economic impacts of your regulator programs.  I want you to know that I too love nature, birds, fish, plants, and animals.  If we lived in the Garden of Eden, none of this would be a problem.  But, we do not live in the Garden of Eden, and the Piping Plover does not pay taxes, rent rooms, create jobs, or even buy t-shirts.  And so it is that people too must be part of the environment, and their activities must not be displaced by the birds, no matter how much we love them.”

--Letter from Robert V. Bobby Owens, Jr., chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissions to Anne Hecht of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, May, 1995
Read More

It's finally here! So what do you think?

Friday 05 March 2010 at 8:30 pm Finally, after a very long wait, the Park Service has made public its Draft Environmental Impact statement and preferred alternative for managing off-road vehicles on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

How long the wait has been depends on when you start counting – and how good your memory is after all these years.

The seashore has been more than three decades without a long-term ORV management plan, as is required by federal regulations.

About 15 years ago, environmental groups started taking notice that there was no plan – especially groups that have no use for ORVs.

Sometime in mid-1990s, seashore officials started talking about coming up with a plan, but that talk didn’t really get very serious until after the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was moved a little over 10 years ago.

Then a revolving door of superintendents talked a lot about it, but got nothing done. Read More