The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council met June 10 in Galveston asking the public again to submit funding ideas for the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico and especially the Kemp's Ridley sea turtles that died by the thousands as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
A recently released list of suggested projects barely mentioned the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle and only then to continue a program of egg transfer away from Galveston Island which does not recognize the requests of the Galveston Island Commissioners Court, the Galveston City Council and the people of Galveston to retain Kemp's ridley eggs for incubation and release of hatchlings on the Upper Texas Coast.
At this hearing, the Sea Turtle Restoration Project again submitted ideas for funding many projects as well as managing the shrimping industry that continues to kill thousands of Kemp's ridleys. STRP supports the increase of the population of nesters on the Upper Texas Coast with incredible educational opportunities for Galveston, Houston and surrounding counties.
Everyone concerned with the future of the Kemp's ridley sea turtles can add their voices to support STRP. An online form is available for your comments. We have until June 24 to speak up!
Here are a few of the requests STRP made at the June 10 hearing for the millions of dollars to benefit the Gulf and the Kemp's Ridley sea turtles:
1.Build a Sea Turtle Education Center in Galveston with a clinic to treat injured or oil covered sea turtles and allow the public to see them;
2.Stop transporting fragile Kemp's ridley eggs to the Padre Island National Seashore, incubate them in the Galveston area and then release nearby. Later, the eggs can be left in place with protection by some of Galveston's many volunteers before they hatch out as nature intended.
3.Stop near shore trawling similar to the ban in place in south Texas and Mexico but extend it to all year. A recent research paper states that the "nearshore Gulf of Mexico waters serve as prime foraging habitat for post nesting Kemp's ridley turtles." The paper also recognizes a "foraging corridor" and calls for "international cooperation for conservation of this imperiled species."
4.Manage beach-raking activities on Galveston beaches so that hatchlings or eggs are not buried under tons of sand and sargassum by heavy machinery.
5. Contribute to a Sea Turtle Visitor Center in Galveston where the Sea Turtle Restoration Project will show educational films and provide materials for tourists, residents and teachers to build public awareness.
6. Provide funding for pamphlets, bookmarks, posters and beach signs for tourists and coastal residents.
7. Restore dunes on Bolivar Peninsula and elsewhere on the Upper Texas Coast to encourage nesting sea turtles.
8. Recognize the expanding coalition of businesses and entities working for the Kemp's ridley recovery including the Galveston City Council, Galveston County Commissioners and the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council.
9. Participate in the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area spanning four Upper Texas Coast coastal counties: Galveston, Brazoria, Chambers and Matagorda. This region of natural areas and outdoor recreation opportunities is enhanced by the nesting of the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles.
Take a few minutes to speak up for the restoration of the Kemp's ridley sea turtles with improved policies, new facilities and more protection on the Upper Texas Coast!
Choose a few or all of our recommendations or some of your own!