Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Reports

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Since 1978, the Broward County Environmental Protection Department (BCEPD) has provided for the conservation of endangered and threatened sea turtle species within its area of responsibility. Broward County is within the normal nesting areas of three species of sea turtles: the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). The loggerhead is listed as a threatened species, while the green and leatherback are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, 1973, and Chapter 370, F.S.

Since these statutes strictly forbid any disturbance of sea turtles and their nests, conservation activities involving the relocation of nests from hazardous locations (especially necessary along heavily developed coasts) require permitting by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In Florida, this permit is issued to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) , Bureau of Protected Species Management, Tallahassee, Florida. This project was administered by the BCEPD and conducted by the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center under Marine Turtle Permit # 108, issued to the BCEPD by the FWCC.

The BCEPD is especially concerned with any environmental effects of intermittent beach nourishment projects on shorelines and the offshore reefs. As part of this concern, the BCEPD has maintained the sea turtle conservation program in non-nourishment years to provide a continuous database and for monitoring of completed nourishment projects. Nova Southeastern University received the contract to conduct the 2006 program.

In addition to fulfilling statutory requirements, the purposes of the project were:

  1. to relocate eggs from nests deposited in sites threatened by natural processes or human activities and thus maximize hatchling survival,

  2. to accurately survey sea turtle nesting patterns to document historical trends and assess natural and anthropogenic factors affecting nesting patterns and densities,

  3. to assess the success of sea turtle recruitment and of hatchery operations in terms of nesting success, hatching success and total hatchlings released,

  4. to dispose of turtle carcasses, respond to strandings and other emergencies and maintain a 24-hour emergency cell phone for reporting of turtle incidents, and

  5. to inform and educate the public about sea turtles and their conservation.

Report Number

EPD 07-01


Prepared for the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.