Saturday, November 3, 2007

10/31 - Excellent proposal? Not quite

Date October 31, 2007
Section(s) Letters
The Brunswick News

On Sept. 21, you wrote an editorial about the threat of development to the habitat of endangered loggerhead turtles.

On Sept. 27, you praised the Jekyll Island State Park Authority Board for its selection of Linger Longer Communities' (LLC) proposal to be the authority's Private Revitalization Partner. You felt that LLC's plan for a Town Center was "just simply excellent."

There is an important connection between these two editorials. The Town Center is to be located directly adjacent to a beach that is critical nesting habitat for loggerhead turtles.

The Town Center would position some 3,000 new beachgoers as potential threats to loggerhead nesting, and beach concessions are presently included in the Town Center plan, potentially adding an additional threat to successful turtle reproduction.

In your Sept. 27 editorial, you point out that LLC desires for its Jekyll project to be environmentally friendly.

In my view, the best way for LLC to achieve environmental friendliness is to maximally abide by the federal Endangered Species Act, and apply for an Incidental Take Permit for loggerhead turtles.

I feel that it is clear that the Town Center population and activities could reduce the success rate of loggerheads attempting to nest on the Town Center beach. LLC would need to prepare and file a Habitat Conservation Plan in order to obtain an Incidental Take Permit, and the plan would then be monitored for successful execution.

The Habitat Conservation Plan would give the loggerheads a fighting chance to coexist with the Town Center.

Steve Newell
Jekyll Island

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