News | February 11, 2010

CHAPA and Dare and Hyde Counties say Consent Decree is an important protection

While seeking to overturn it through a bill in the US Senate (S. 1557), the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) and Dare and Hyde Counties extolled the protections afforded piping plovers by a 2008 Consent Decree on managing off-road vehicle (ORV) use on Cape Hatteras National Seashore in a public legal brief filed on February 4, 2010 in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia (click here for legal brief). The legal filing is part of their lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision to designate certain areas of the Seashore as critical habitat for piping plovers which are protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
In the filing, CHAPA (a coalition of ORV advocacy organizations) and counties argue that:

  • Measures in the Consent Decree to manage ORV use provide “important biological benefits and protections” to piping plovers on the Seashore, and additional protection that would be afforded by critical habitat designation is unnecessary.
  • Provisions found in the Consent Decree provide “assurances that the conservation management strategies will be implemented to accomplish the objectives” of protecting piping plover habitat on the Seashore.

CHAPA and Dare and Hyde Counties, along with the National Park Service and environmental organizations, entered the Consent Decree in April 2008 to provide protections to piping plovers and other wildlife on the National Seashore. After recommending to the federal court that it approve the Consent Decree, CHAPA and Dare County subsequently criticized the measures in the Consent Decree to protect threatened piping plovers and other wildlife. They have supported proposed legislation in Congress to overturn the wildlife protection measures in the Consent Decree while at the same time now arguing it provides “important biological benefits and protections” to threatened piping plovers that replace the need for critical habitat designation on the National Seashore.