TAKE ACTION FOR LOGGERHEADS - DEADLINE MAY 24, 2013
After five years of delay, the federal government is finally proposing to protect more than 739 miles of critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles on their nesting beaches along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts -- where they have been laying eggs for centuries!
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) beaches should not be excluded
Protecting these beaches will go a long way toward ensuring the long-term survival of threatened Northwest Atlantic loggerhead sea turtles that lay thousands of eggs on U.S. shores every year. The populations of these sea turtles have declined dramaticaly over recent decades but the number of nests on Florida beaches has increased slightly over the past five years.
However, the USFWS proposal falls short as it excludes critical nesting beaches in Florida's St. John's, Volusia and Indian River Counties due to the existence of voluntary Habitat Conservation Plans. Such plans expire and can lapse due to budget cuts or political agendas.
So it is important that critical habitat be designated across all important loggerhead nesting beaches, including those where voluntary HCPs are in place.
News flash! We recently won an imminent timeline for in-water critical habitat for loggerheads and will soon be asking you to support protection of breeding, feeding and migratory habitat areas later this year!
Photo above: A nesting loggerhead sea turtle returns to the ocean in the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia (credit US FWS).