I'm not sure what to think, it seems the usual environmentalist vs. Industry battle. Those who want to protect the turtles are not considering our areas tourism economy. The people concerned with tourism dollars seem to care about turtles but have overriding economic concerns. I believe we must protect both the turtles and our economy and hopefully those in mediation can come to reasonable terms soon.
I found the sea turtle article interesting because I have seen a few areas set aside for sea turtle eggs at Ocean Isle beach. The areas are not very large and only consisted of 4 plastic poles and some string to block people from walking on the eggs. The beach was pretty full (full in Ocean Isle is much different than full in Wrightsville) but everyone respected the areas set aside for the turtles and kept their distance.
I also found the sea article to be interesting. Just yesterday I attended a meeting concerning the volunteer program for sea turtles at Wrightsville Beach. Attending the meeting made me realize how endangered these animals are and just how important it is to preserve them. However, I feel that it is important to do so in a way that benefits the animals as well as the local beach communities both envrionmentally and economically. As erosion is a major issue for beach communities, I believe that beach restoration is an important process. I believe that beach restoration is important not only for the local communities, but also for maintaining the habitat of the turtles. Furthermore, I believe that the main focus should be instead on keeping trash off of the beaches as well as expanding the volunteer program for sea turtles.
Designating a large area of coastline as a critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles could definitely have its advantages and disadvantages. Designating this land for sea turtles also means that it is designated for other animals that use the beach for nesting. Another seriously endangered species on our coast is the Piping Plover. Unlike the loggerhead, the plover lays its nests directly in the sand, in a small rivet. Since there are no dug holes or turtle tracks out of the water these nests are much harder to find. Tourists or ORVs often trample them without anyone realizing. I do see the concern on an economic level as well as prohibiting beach renourishment. A BCA as well as a ESA would need to be conducted. Locals as well as tourists can get pretty feisty when it comes to their beaches. In areas along the coast where ORVs are no longer allowed you will often see stickers with a bird shaped like a middle finger with the motto “identify this bird Audubon.” Beach renourishment can be very helpful in extending the beaches, and providing more area for the turtles. But it turns the beach into a construction zone when the renourishment is taking place. I would be interested to see the comparison between the money saved from not having to dredge and apply the sand and how much may be lost by designating this area as critical habitat.
It does seem like there is a disconnect between tourism and sea turtle protection. I wonder what effect the lose of the sea turtle nesting sights would have on tourism compared to the loss of tourism from designating the beaches as vital habitat. It does seem like in this case the designation may be overkill because it would inhibit renourishment and recreation more than it may help. A happy medium would be nice but what would that be?
I also think the sea turtle article was interesting. Tourism and sea turtle protection are related in a few different ways. Some tourists seek out these sites simply to view the turtles. I know someone who goes to Topsail to see the turtles travel to the sea. If these areas were more protected, it may deter tourism. However, if there were guidelines/regulations, then tourism can be enjoyed while protecting them.
I thought this was the best news in the articles was this snippet, “The general fund budget is $87.9 million and includes 2 percent pay raises for all employees, a 1.5 percent merit raise for eligible employees, and adds 1 percent to the city's contribution to employee retirement.”(http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130618/ARTICLES/130619609/1177?p=2&tc=pg) I too believe there can be a compromise struck between protecting the Loggerhead turtle habitat and re-nourishment. It seems opponents of the critical habitat designation are not taking into account the non-use values of the turtles.
I really liked the article about sea turtles. I think that it is very important to protect this species. I also feel that it is very important to protect our local economy. I have seen sea turtle nests along the beach before but people seem to respect the nests and go on about their business. I feel like this issue will be an on going debate for a while.
This is a tough issue to tackle regarding use of beaches v. protection of turtle habitat. Obviously the breeding grounds of turtles such as the loggerhead needs to be protected and it is our job as stewards of the coastal environment to do so. However, as someone who grew up in a coastal town, i fully understand the economic support that summer tourism lends to these areas. To say that these coastal communities need the tourist business they get would be an understatement. In this case it seems best to understand there needs to be a balance of both use and protection which is why experts need be employed to define high activity areas for turtles. These areas should be protected while areas near communities that have lower turtle activity should be open to the public. This is not ideal for either side but seems to be the best solution.
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