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Service Estimates Economic Impacts of Terrestrial Critical Habitat
Designation for Northwest Atlantic Population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles

JACKSONVILLE, FL – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing the estimated cost and economic impacts of its proposal to designate terrestrial critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic population of loggerhead sea turtles in coastal areas of six southeastern U.S. states.

The draft economic analysis considered the potential impact of the designation on various sectors of the economy.  Based on the best available information,  the Service estimates total potential incremental economic impacts in areas proposed as critical habitat over the next 10 years (2014 to 2024) to be approximately $1,200,000 ($150,000 annualized) in present-value terms when applying a seven percent discount rate.  The Service estimates these are administrative costs borne by federal and state agencies associated with Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 consultations.

On average, of the potential annual $150,000 costs, 46% would be borne by the Service, 38% by other Federal Agency costs, and the remaining 16% to the project proponents.  These proponents could include counties doing beach nourishment projects, or private or corporate applicants doing some type of beach construction.

Critical habitat designation for other federal listed species is already in place in many of the locations proposed for the loggerhead sea turtle.  As such, federal agencies must already consider what, if any, impact the projects they conduct, fund or permit might have on these federally listed species.  Critical habitat reviews for these other species have not prevented beach nourishment projects or limited beach access, and neither will reviews associated with terrestrial critical habitat for the loggerhead.

The Service has also scheduled three informational open houses followed by formal public hearings on August 6, 7 and 8, 2013, as follows:

August 6, 2013 at:

 South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
 Marine Resources Research Institute Auditorium
 217 Ft. Johnson Rd., Charleston, SC 29412
 Informational Open House: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
 Formal Public Hearing: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

August 7, 2013 at:

 University of North Carolina Wilmington
 Warwick Center, Ballroom 5
 629 Hamilton Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403
 Attendee campus parking is available in Lots ‘E’ and ‘M.’
 Informational Open House: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
 Formal Public Hearing: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

 

August 8, 2013 at:

 Crystal Coast Civic Center
 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City, NC
 Informational Open House: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
 Formal Public Hearing: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

 

The open houses provides all interested parties an informal opportunity to talk with Service staff, hear information first hand, and ask questions about the proposed terrestrial critical habitat designation and associated draft economic analysis.  The public hearing is a formal, structured listening session for interested parties to verbally express their comments to the Service on the proposed terrestrial critical habitat designation and associated draft economic analysis.  These comments will be considered and added to the official decision record.

 

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