02:00 PM

Court victory greets returning plovers

Judge upholds critical habitat designation for wintering shorebirds

WASHINGTON (08/17/2010) -


  • A federal judge today ruled in favor of designating critical habitat areas for the wintering piping plover in North Carolina in compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
  • Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, intervened in the case on behalf of the Interior Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • The piping plover has been listed as a threatened species under the ESA since 1986. The beaches of North Carolina play a vital role in all stages of their life cycle.

The following are statements from Defenders of Wildlife, the National Audubon Society and the Southern Environmental Law Center:

“Cape Hatteras is unique. It’s one of the few places on the east coast that hosts piping plover activity all year round,” said Jason Rylander, staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “Critical habitat designation will provide a crucial, additional layer of protection throughout the year.”

“This is a great victory for piping plovers and reaffirms the importance of Cape Hatteras National Seashore for this threatened species.” said Walker Golder, deputy director of Audubon North Carolina.

“The decision completely affirms the Fish and Wildlife Service's efforts to designate habitat necessary for recovery of the piping plover,” said Julie Youngman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “The additional legal protection for this threatened species comes at a critical time for its survival.”


Read more about the case, Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance v. National Park Service.

Learn more about how Defenders and other conservation groups are working to protect wildlife at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.



Jason Rylander, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 486-8650, jrylander@defenders.org
Kathleen Sullivan, SELC, ksullivan@selcnc.org
Walker Golder, Audubon North Carolina, (910) 686-7527, wgolder@audubon.org

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members, supporters and subscribers, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. www.defenders.org

Audubon North Carolina is the state office of the National Audubon Society representing 10,000 grassroots members and nine local chapters across the state.  With a century of conservation history in North Carolina, Audubon strives to conserve and restore the habitats we share with all wildlife, focusing on the needs of birds.  Audubon North Carolina achieves its mission through a blend of science-based research and conservation, education and outreach, and advocacy. www.ncaudubon.org

The Southern Environmental Law Center is the only regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of 40 legal experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org