Turtley Terrific! Nature Conservancy announces 6,200-acre purchase to conserve sea turtle nesting habitat

Shown is an example of the vegetated sand dunes that exist within the 6,200 acres of beach to bay property purchased by The Nature Conservancy to safeguard sea turtle nesting habitat. The Nature Conservancy | Courtesy photo

Nature Conservancy announces 6,200-acre purchase to conserve sea turtle nesting habitat

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Local conservationists scored a big win late last week as The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced the purchase of some 6,200 acres of undeveloped land on South Padre Island for the purpose of conserving critical nesting habitat for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.

The land acquisition will be completed in two phases, and is the largest such acquisition in 20 years, TNC said in a press release. The first phase of the acquisition was completed last Thursday, March 7; the second is expected to close later this year.

(ALL INTERNAL & LIMITED EXTERNAL RIGHTS) Baby Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are released and head for the ocean. The most endangered of sea turtle species living in the Gulf of Mexico, Kemp’s ridleys are raised from eggs in a hatchery and then released on the beaches of Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, where they will eventually return to nest. Photo credit: © 2014 Carlton Ward for The Nature Conservancy. Used with permission.

“The effort represents a nearly $16 million effort with private landowners to secure and safeguard part of South Padre’s last unprotected stretch of land. This will be the largest conservation effort on South Padre Island since the Conservancy’s purchase of approximately 25,000 acres in 2000,” TNC said.

TNC will transfer control of the land to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), where it will become a part of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (LANWR). With the purchase, the Refuge will now boast over 110,000 combined acres of protected habitat on the mainland and South Padre Island.

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