COS professor writes for the St. Pete Times

Llewellyn M. Ehrhart wrote a beautiful piece for the St. Pete Times recently.

I am a biologist who, for 29 years, has studied marine turtle nests on the beach at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a 21-kilometer stretch of beach on Florida’s east coast between Melbourne and Vero Beach, home to nests for three species of turtle.

For loggerheads, it is arguably the best nesting beach on the entire rim of the Atlantic Ocean. For green turtles, it is certainly the best nesting beach in the United States. And for leatherbacks, it is home to a small but growing rookery.

It is incredibly fortuitous that the refuge, dedicated to the protection of marine turtle nesting habitat, came along just as the turtles were poised to advance incrementally in abundance and survival status. Nothing is more critical to that advance than maintaining natural beaches: no sea walls, no foreign sand, no landscape alteration, no lights. That’s the lay of the land of the Carr Refuge beach, and those features help support more than a million hatchlings that will enter the ocean from this beach each year. We would do well to emulate the conditions at the Carr Refuge, using it as a model for beaches statewide, and making preservation of natural qualities the goal of our coastal management programs.

What I have seen at the Carr Refuge provides an excellent window into what is happening with marine turtles throughout Florida. Here’s a summary as the loggerhead nesting season ends and the Florida green turtle’s season is about to close.

Read the rest of the article here.


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