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NOAA opens discussion on critical Loggerhead habitat

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A meeting about the future of Loggerhead turtles on North Carolina beaches brought dozens out of their shell onto the campus of UNC-Wilmington.

"It's not just enough to have them hanging on, but they have to be able to have the conditions necessary to reach a point of recovery,” said Dennis Klemm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that 36 occupied marine areas along the east coast could become part of a critical habitat for Loggerheads area conservationist were flipping their fins in excitement.

"We have great policies and procedures in place already and this designation would just be one extra layer and one level more of protection that I think would bring a positive impact,” said Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project president Jodi Smith.

Those opposed to the designation say the area that we will see the most impact won’t be in our seas, but in our wallets.

"We think there will be economic impacts of this designation either through litigation, project delays, or increased monitoring costs that really aren't necessary,” said attorney Todd Roessler.

"There's expected to be very little actual local impact,” said Klemm. “The majority of it is just incremental analysis on top of on top of analysis that is already being required legally anyway under the endangered species act."

"If the designation isn't going to do anything, why designate the critical habitat,” said Roessler.

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