Sea turtles around the Gulf Coast seem to be recovering – ALABAMA — The number of sea turtles along the Gulf coast looks to be rebounding following the BP oil disaster, which occurred more than a decade ago. While nesting season concludes in August, marine researchers around the Gulf Coast are enthusiastic about what they are seeing. People have discovered nests in locations where sea turtles have not deposited eggs for years.
Check out these newly born creatures in Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands. This has not occurred for more than 75 years. Since May, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) have been closely monitoring the Chandeleur Islands in an effort to design a project that will restore the islands following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and numerous weather events over the years.
In a statement, CRPA Chairman Chip Kline stated, “Louisiana was widely written off as a nesting site for sea turtles decades ago, but this decision underscores why barrier island restoration is so vital.”
In Pensacola, leatherback turtles have hatched for the first time in almost two decades.
It was a “rare triumph” on a developed shoreline, according to the Escambia County Natural Resources Management. Approximately sixty leatherback hatchlings made it to the Gulf of Mexico without being disturbed.
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Volunteers discovered the first sea turtle nest on the Mississippi coast in four years.
“It’s quite exciting,” said Dianne Ingram, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s chief sea turtle restoration scientist (FWS). With these possible new discoveries, we’re eager to do more thorough nest monitoring in regions where we hadn’t previously looked closely.
Since the 2010 BP oil disaster, Ingram has been in the forefront of sea turtle conservation operations.
Ingram said, “Turtles had a significant effect.” “The overall number of sea turtle nests fluctuates from year to year for a variety of natural causes, but in 2010 and 2011, when the spill occurred and the response began, nesting significantly decreased.”
In 2016, the five Gulf states (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) affected by the disaster received almost $20 billion for rehabilitation initiatives.
Some of them include upgrading beach lighting to prevent turtles from becoming confused, expanding wildlife refuges, and beach cleanups.
“The greatest thing we can do for sea turtles is to reduce the hazards posed by people,” said Ingram.
While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) oversees conservation efforts on land, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) focuses on sea turtle rehabilitation in the ocean. According to the NOAA, bycatch, which occurs when undesired marine life is caught or entangled in fishing gear, is one of the greatest hazards to sea turtles. Many of their conservation efforts have included training fishermen on new procedures and equipment to avoid sea turtles from being entangled in fishing lines.
Although environmentalists are optimistic about these programs, it is too soon to establish a clear link between them and the observed rise in nests, they add. According to Ingram, this increase is more likely due to the 1970s addition of sea turtles to the list of endangered species.
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