Cape Hatteras National Seashore update on Oregon Inlet Marina, lighthouse climbing, wildlife nesting

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, June 22, 2021

On Friday, June 11, National Park Service South Atlantic-Gulf acting regional director Pedro Ramos signed a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Oregon Inlet Marina Improvements: Site Plan and Environmental Assessment.

The assessment addressed the management of aging buildings that are not adapted to sea level rise, vessel traffic, navigation, fueling challenges in the marina, parking, viewshed and pedestrian and traffic flow.

After evaluating two alternatives, the NPS selected the preferred alternative, which allows for the replacement of 1960s-era buildings and improvements to fueling facilities, parking and circulation and for dredging at the popular charter fishing marina. The facilities will be built to better withstand climate change, sea level rise and associated storm-related vulnerabilities.

The marina, located just north of Oregon Inlet, is operated by Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, LLC through a 20-year lease. The lessee will fund and implement most of the construction subject to NPS approval.

Tickets to climb the Bodie Island Lighthouse go on sale at recreation.gov under Bodie Island Lighthouse Tickets every morning at 7 a.m. Climbers must be at the base of the lighthouse five minutes prior to time on ticket.

The June 17 resource management field summary shows the following count on the shorebird and sea turtle nesting season:

American oystercatcher chicks on Bodie Island, one; at Cape Point, four; on Hatteras Island, one; and on Ocracoke 14, for a total of 20. On June 18, 2020, American oystercatcher chicks numbered eight.

Colonial waterbird chicks on Cape Point five; on Hatteras Island 97 on Ocracoke Island 21, for a total of 123. So far, 2021 chicks are way ahead of 2020. On June 18, 2020, colonial waterbird chicks numbered 73.

Piping plover chicks number two at Cape Point. Wilson’s plover chicks also number two somewhere on Hatteras Island. On June 18, 2020, no piping or Wilson’s plover chicks were counted.

Sea turtle nests on Hatteras Island number 43 and on Ocracoke Island 27, for a total number of 70 nests in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. On June 18, 2020, seashore staffers had counted only 59 sea turtle nests.

As of June 17, 2021, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has the highest number of sea turtle nests on North Carolina beaches. Cape Lookout National Seashore has 59 for the second highest total.

On Dare County’s northern beaches, two sea turtle nests have been located. In Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, sea turtle nests number 5.

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