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Public Use Management at Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

The goal for public access management in CAMA managed areas is: "To a degree that is consistent with our goals for natural and cultural resource protection, we will promote and manage public use of our preserves and reserves that supports the research, education, and stewardship mission of CAMA."

Historic public use of Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve (TCAP) has primarily been consumptive uses by local residents and a few visitors. Activities include line and net fishing, crabbing, oystering, harvesting hard clams and scalloping. The scallop population declined decades ago and has not recovered, but fishing activities are increasing with increasing population size and increasing awareness of, and access to, the water. While local residents have engaged in some nonconsumptive activities like waterskiing and swimming, these are relatively infrequent. Kayaking likely is the most prevalent non-consumptive use of the preserve. The preserve is recognized as an outstanding site for snorkeling and watching birds and other wildlife.

Boating and Fishing

Boating is an important means of accessing much of the preserve. Small, shallow-draft boats necessary to access much of the nearshore area cannot come from long distances in uncertain weather conditions. It is important to accommodate historic use of the area by small boats, but access needs to be spread among several access points to avoid intense impacts at any one point. While additional access point possibilities are limited, there is considerable potential for making existing facilities more functional and environmentally-sound.

Damage to submerged resources often are concentrated in specific areas where shortcuts and/or sudden changes in depth cause prop-scarring and groundings. Detailed signs in areas like the Bishop Harbor swash channel can help lead boats through the deeper areas.

Legal fishing activities are one of the most important public uses of the preserve. By providing fisheries regulations at access points and by facilitating law enforcement activities, TCAP staff will help ensure the sustainability of fisheries resources at Terra Ceia.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Paddling is a popular means of experiencing TCAP. Several paddling trails have been marked within the preserve. Unfortunately, while a great deal of planning went into these trails, a number of markers were not installed in the intended locations and many trail signs are missing from their posts. To avoid confusion among paddlers, markers within TCAP need to be either be maintained or removed.

Several paddling launches had been planned at Terra Ceia. At present, kayaks and canoes are launched in a variety of inconvenient and somewhat unsafe locations. Paddling launches are relatively easy to design and to permit. TCAP staff worked to ensure that paddling launches are developed and with environmentally-sound features.

Sign for paddling trail


Aquaculture has been present at Terra Ceia for less than 10 years. Potential direct impacts from aquaculture activities include wastewater discharge, preemption of submerged habitats and introduction of non-native species/varieties. TCAP staff worked with local and state aquaculture entities to look for the most environmentally-sound practices and ensured that operations follow defined guidelines and are contained within lease boundaries.

Overall, public use management at Terra Ceia must focus on minimizing the per capita impacts of an increasing number of visitors. TCAP faces a monumental challenge of helping residents and visitors to appreciate Terra Ceia without loving it to death.









Last updated: April 06, 2015

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