Posted by: reefrescue | February 6, 2010

Juno Beach project kills endangered sea turtle

The US Corp of Army Engineers investigates why an endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle was killed by a dredge during the Juno, Florida beach nourishment project.

The contractor for the Juno beach nourishment project reported an endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle was killed by the project’s dredge on January 8. An investigation report issued by the US Corp of Army Engineers on January 9, found missing mesh on the turtle exclusion device allowed the turtle to be sucked into the vessel’s dredge head.

According to the Juno Beach Loggerhead Marinelife Center the Kemp’s Ridley is the most endangered and smallest of all sea turtles. Nesting is restricted to a 20-mile stretch of beach in the western Gulf of Mexico. The turtle killed by the dredge is believed to have been a juvenile.

Problems for turtles not over

Plagued with permit noncompliance issues (see Reef Rescue Blog: Mismanagement of Juno beach restoration project puts reefs in jeopardy) and delays the project will not finish before the beginning of the March 1st turtle nesting season as mandated by the permit issued by the FDEP. Palm Beach County (the permit holder) is expected to apply for a permit modification to allow work to continue into April, well beyond the beginning of turtle nesting season.

If the Ridley turtle is considered the most endangered,  the Leatherback (largest of the sea turtles) is next on the list of turtles faced with extinction. First of the turtles to begin nesting, Leatherbacks will begin arriving in Juno Beach during March. Last year Juno Beach had a record 277 Leatherback nests, one of the best nesting years ever recorded for the species in Florida.

Greenpeace spokesperson Bobbette Wolesensky, said “They should shut down the project for nesting season”, she states flatly “the turtles matter.”

Related Links: Juno Beach project delays: nesting turtles go to “Plan B”

Click to watch diver video of Juno Beach reef silt

Click to watch NBC News video

Reef Rescue: Mismanagement of Juno beach restoration project puts reefs in jeopardy

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