A sea turtle protection plan includes many popular South Florida beaches in the new critical habitat zone. The entire Palm Beach County coast will be part of the Loggerhead turtle protection zone if a US Fish and Wildlife Service proposal is approved. The northern section of the Broward County coastline is also inside the designated area.
The US Fish and Wildlife agency wants to make 739 miles of the coast from North Carolina to Mississippi a critical habitat area for the threatened species of sea turtles. Loggerhead turtles make annual pilgrimages to the area to lay their eggs.
The federal agency proposal unveiled on Friday include more than 40 beaches in Florida. The Canaveral National Seashore is also on the list of sea turtle critical habitat locations. The proposed habitat protection plan is not expected to have a negative impact on beachgoers. The US Fish and Wildlife proposal could potentially impact beach renourishment projects and the garnering of federal permits.
The coastal regions that have long been the nesting place for the Loggerhead turtles have changed significantly. Sea turtles have instinctively journeyed to the area for thousands of years. In 2012, more than 58,000 sea turtles nests were found o Florida beaches.
Sea turtles are among the most ancient creatures on Earth. A total of seven species still alive today have reportedly been swimming around the ocean for 110 million years.
Unlike tortoises and other species of turtles, sea turtles cannot retract their heads and legs into their shells.
Their shell and body colors typically vary between shades of green, yellow, and black. The number of sea turtles remaining is difficult to determine. Male members of the species do not venture onto the shore. Juvenile sea turtles do not come back onto the beach after hatching; only females return when they are preparing to drop their own eggs.
Sea turtles migrate for hundreds of miles and are found in both warm and temperate waterways. Most of the information marine biologists know about the wild habits of the species stems from monitoring females during the laying process. The turtles mate from March through October. A typical clutch contains between 70 to 190 eggs. Although that may sound like a lot of hatchlings, most do not make it to adulthood.
What do you think about the sea turtle critical habitat protection plan?
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