CHAPA submitted comments for the "Review and Adjustment of Wildlife Protection Buffers" Environmental Assessment (EA) to the National Park Service (NPS) today. The NPS published the assessment on April 29, 2015 as we previously communicated. As part of the EA, NPS also opened a public comment period which expires at midnight, May 14, 2015.
CHAPA's comments acknowledge several changes in the NPS proposal which will have a positive impact on visitor access, both pedestrian and ORV, if implemented. CHAPA also described a number of additional changes which must be implemented to ensure NPS compliance with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 section 3057. That law requires NPS "to insure that the buffers are of the shortest duration and cover the smallest area necessary to protect a species....."
CHAPA's recommendations were originally sent to the Superintendent for his consideration on April 10, 2015, prior to the publication of the EA. We continue to believe the recommendations offered at that time can be implemented with minimal disruption to the NPS resource management processes already in place at the Seashore. We also believe our recommendations will balance resource protection and pedestrian / ORV access at the Seashore in a way that is consistent with the intent of the law.
The official CHAPA comments can be viewed at this link. This letter and other communications which have occurred on this subject in the past cand be viewed at www.obpa,org , www.ncbba.org , or www.IslandFreePress.org . In addition to following our communications, we urge you to visit the NPS webpage titled "2015 National Defense Authorization Act Actions Update" to stay current with the latest information.John Couch