Two federal agencies — the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration — are seeking to designate Perdido Key and nearby Gulf waters as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles.
But Escambia County says additional federal protection for the endangered species is unnecessary.
The county is about to adopt a wildlife lighting ordinance and its own habitat conservation plan that will provide as much or more protection for nesting sea turtles than what the federal government hopes to accomplish, said Tim Day, Escambia's environmental programs manager.
The conservation plan, seven years in the works, covers the beach mouse, four species of nesting sea turtles and piping plover shorebirds. It is expected to be adopted in the fall.
"At the local level, we value those coastal resources enough to develop these regulations so additional oversight is not necessary," Day said.
Under the proposed federal designation, any construction or beach nourishment in the habitat area that requires federal approval would allow for NOAA or Fish & Wildlife consultation to avoid or reduce impacts to the sea turtle and its habitat.
This may be a moot point when it comes to private construction because the county already prohibits all but dune crosswalk construction within the proposed federal habitat designation area, Day said.
Day does not expect the county to receive a response from Fish & Wildlife on its request to be excluded from the habitat designation for some time.
Read the full story at the Pensacola News Journal>>
National Fisherman Live for March 11, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the appointment of John M.R. Bull as Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. John Bull has been with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission since June 2007 and has been serving as Acting Commissioner since January 2014.
PORTSMOUTH, NH - The New Hampshire Fish and Lobster Festival, known locally as Fishtival, invites the community to Portsmouth's Prescott Park each September to honor, celebrate and rediscover the proud tradition of small-scale, local commercial groundfishing in New Hampshire and its valuable contribution to our local food system, local economy and local culture. Now, the mission continues with the announcement of small grants available from the proceeds of the 2013 event.