The National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service have released final rules designating critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles in the Northwest Atlantic. (NMFS page on loggerhead CH) (FWS page). The rules are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register Thursday, July 10.
The NMFS rule includes marine areas; the FWS rule includes the beaches that loggerheads use as nesting areas.
The Center for Biological Diversity hailed the decision, saying that the largest CH designation in history -- including 685 miles of beaches from Mississippi to North Carolina and more than 300,000 square miles of ocean — "promises to conserve areas necessary for recovery." (More from CBD)
FWS noted that its rule includes "88 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. These beaches account for 48 percent of an estimated 1,531 miles of coastal beach shoreline used by loggerheads, and about 84 percent of the documented numbers of nests, within these six states."