The U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) conducted a study for the National Park Service (NPS) Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CAHA) in North Carolina to review, evaluate, and summarize the available scientific information for selected species of concern at CAHA (piping plovers, sea turtles, seabeach amaranth, American oystercatchers, and colonial waterbirds). This work consisted of reviewing the scientific literature and evaluating the results of studies that examined critical life history stages of each species, and focused on the scientific findings reported that are relevant to the management of these species and their habitats at CAHA. The chapters that follow provide the results of that review separately for each species and present scientifically based options for resource management at CAHA.
Although no new original research or experimental work was conducted, this synthesis of the existing information was peer reviewed by over 15 experts with familiarity with these species. This report does not establish NPS management protocols but does highlight scientific information on the biology of these species to be considered by NPS managers who make resource management decisions at CAHA.
To ensure that the best available information is considered when assessing each species of interest at CAHA, this review included published research as well as practical experience of scientists and wildlife managers who were consulted in 2005. PWRC scientists evaluated the literature, consulted wildlife managers, and produced an initial draft that was sent to experts for scientific review. Revisions based on those comments were incorporated into the document. The final draft of the document was reviewed by NPS personnel to ensure that the description of the recent status and management of these species at CAHA was accurately represented and that the report was consistent with our work agreement. The following section summarizes the biological information relevant to resource management for the species of concern at CAHA.