Loggerhead designation cost about $150,000 a year

A federal agency estimates it will cost $150,000 a year to administer the Endangered Species Act along hundreds of miles of the Southeast coast designated as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year announced it was designating 740 miles of beaches from North Carolina to Mississippi as critical habitat. About 175 miles of that is on the coast of the Carolinas.

The cost reflects additional government reviews of projects such as beach renourishment that might affect the endangered loggerheads.

About 40 percent of the shoreline designated is government property.

The agency is reopening the public comment period on the designation for two months. Public hearings are set next month in Charleston as well as Wilmington and Morehead City.