Loggerhead sea turtles are about to get U.S. government help for protection along beaches.
Three environmental groups sued the U.S. government in January, accusing it of failing to take steps ensuring the survival of loggerhead turtles, as specified by the Endangered Species Act.
The lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana Inc and Turtle Island Restoration said the turtles survival was threatened by destruction or degradation of nesting and foraging habitats, oil spills and other pollution, climate change, rising seas and erosion.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will name beaches in six states as critical sea turtle nesting habitat.
On Friday, the U.S. government named 750 miles of Atlantic and Gulf Coast shoreline in six states as habitats for the loggerhead sea turtles.
The habitats include islands and mainland areas in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, including 90 beaches, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.
If you live along the beach, you don’t have to worry about this affecting your beach life. The designation of these critical habitats will not affect land ownership or establish a refuge. It just simply states that federal agencies planning work in those areas, such as building sea walls, to consider the danger to nesting loggerhead turtles before doing any work.
“The Southeast’s nesting loggerheads swim thousands of miles through an obstacle course of human-made hazards,” said Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a written statement. “Protected beach habitat will help ensure that when they reach our beaches, exhausted and ready to nest, they’re met with true Southern hospitality: plenty of food, good conditions for nesting, and safe beaches for hatchlings to leave their nests so they may someday return to continue the cycle of life.”
These habitats could save threatened loggerhead sea turtles from extinction. “We are taking a step to draw attention to important habitats needed to support the recovery of this magnificent species,” Cindy Dohner, the service’s southeast regional director, said in a statement. “Identifying this habitat will help us work with coastal communities to protect loggerhead nests and ensure that more hatchlings reach the water and begin their lives at sea.”
Loggerheads were first designated as being threatened in 1978. These marine turtles can live decades and weigh hundreds of pounds.
Two Loggerhead turtles released in Juno Beach
Recuperated at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
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