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Federal Agency To Protect Sea Turtle Habitat Along NC Coast

Loggerhead sea turtle
US Fish and Wildlife Service
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Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are estimating the cost of designating special loggerhead sea turtle habitats along the Southeast coast.  The federal agency released a draft proposal saying it will cost $150,000 annually to protect areas in North Carolina and five other states.  

Ninety-six miles of North Carolina beaches in Onslow, Carteret, Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick counties would be protected.  Pete Benjamin of the Fish and Wildlife Service says the cost of maintaining habitats in North Carolina will be split up.

"About $23,000 a year," Benjamin explains.  "About 46 percent of those costs will be on us, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the additional review we have to do.  About 38 percent felt by the other the federal agencies we have to coordinate with, and the remainder felt by the other entities that are involved in beach nourishment and other types of coastal projects."

Benjamin says people would not be restricted from beach activity in the protected areas; it would only affect activities that require federal permitting.  The agency is holding public comment periods in Wilmington and Morehead City next month.

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
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