Dr. Chris Pincetich, campaigner and marine biologist with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, gave a presentation today on California's sea turtles, the upcoming designation of critical habitat for endangered leatherbacks in California, and the need to include leatherback rescue and rehab in oil spill planning at the Northern California Coastal and San Francisco Bay Delta Area Committee meeting of the U.S. Coast Guard. The meeting was attended by over seventy people working through their respective agencies and groups to update the 2008 Area Contingency Plan, which goes into effect when oil spills and other disasters occur. The Sea Turtle Restoration Project is working to ensure endangered sea turtle rescue and rehab is prioritized and lessons learned during the BP oil spill become permanent policy.
Click here to download a pdf copy of the presentation.
Victories achieving new Best Management Practices for sea turtles in oil spills were shared during the presentation, including new NOAA and US FWS guidelines to include trained sea turtle observers on all operations, keep cleanup operations 200 feet from observed sea turtles, and use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on all trawl nets in cleanup operations. For the complete list of BMPs developed for endangered species protections, see page 10 of the presentation pdf.