The Sea Turtle Conservancy Sea Turtle Grants Program, funded through Florida’s specialty license plates sales, has awarded a grant to the Florida Coastal Conservancy, which in turn supports the St. Joseph Peninsula Turtle Patrol.
The St. Joseph Peninsula Turtle Patrol, which works in conjunction with the Florida Coastal Conservancy, conducts morning surveys on six miles of beach along the St. Joseph Peninsula from May through October and will be implementing the grant project. In addition to marking new nests, monitoring hatchling emergences and recording data, the SJP Turtle Patrol volunteers interact with residents and visitors, providing information about sea turtles, the threats they face, and how these threats can be reduced.
The goal of the grant is to improve nesting beach habitat and marine conditions for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings on the St. Joseph Peninsula and for juvenile sea turtles that utilize near-shore habitats in St. Joseph Bay. Through the design, development, and distribution of printed informational materials funded by the grant, the volunteers hope to mitigate the negative impacts caused by improper beach and marine use. These materials will include information about how to respectfully enjoy the recreational activities in this area; how lighting and litter can have a negative impact on sea turtles; the obstacles that beach furniture and recreational equipment left overnight on the beach can be to nesting and hatching sea turtles; the effects of boating strikes and by-catch on sea turtles; and what to do if a stranded or injured sea turtle is sighted.
Informational materials will be distributed through morning beach surveys, property management offices, the Gulf County Tourist Development Council, and at several annual festivals and events.
By promoting positive beach and marine stewardship, we can all maintain our beautiful natural environment and alleviate the impacts of increased use by visitors and residents.
For additional information, please contact Jessica McKenzie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.