NC Department of Transportation is attempting to build a 10-mile long, 4 lane bypass through rare habitat inside of Croatan National Forest as a part of their “Super 70” project catering to commuters in bypassing small towns, this one being the town of Havelock. The areas in which they propose building the road traverses rare, longleaf pine forest in which the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker depends on to survive. Citing that three families of these endangered woodpeckers live within the area, the US Forest Service has already communicated concerns about construction hindering their recovery plan for the bird, which requires intermittent forest burns to maintain required habitat. The road would also cause forest fragmentation, further dividing habitat into smaller sections, which Cornell University ornithologists believe harms woodland birds “by increasing their susceptibility to predation and nest parasitism.” A black bear sanctuary and game land are also nearby the proposed site, which may increase chance of traffic accidents with animals attempting to pass to the other side of their now fragmented habitat.
We say, “No more roads!” The building of the 70 bypass will shave off a few minutes for commuters rushing to Raleigh and, in return, we would have fewer long leaf pine forests, fewer wild areas, and possibly ruin recovery of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker whose numbers are already low. The SELC has stated that longleaf pine forest only covers 4% of the original range in North Carolina. Preserving long leaf pine habitat for this bird should be top priority.
NC Dot held a public hearing regarding this issue on December 6th and over 100 people attended the meeting including environmental groups and local landowners who are opposed to the project. Plans for construction do not begin until 2013. NC Dot is still taking comments, so please take a minute to write contact them at:
Eileen Fuchs, NCDOT- Human Environment Unit
phone at (919) 707-6067 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional written comments regarding the proposed project may be submitted to Ms. Fuchs until Jan. 6, 2012.
Mail can be sent to:
Public Involvement & Community Studies
Attn: Eileen Fuchs
1598 MAIL SERVICE CENTER
RALEIGH, NC 27699-1598