Budget Cuts Threaten Sea Turtle Program

The sea turtle program at Padre Island National Seashore has been a conservation success, but a recent review recommends scaling it back.

By Michael MarksJuly 23, 2021 7:11 am,

Texas is home to one of the most endangered populations of sea turtles in the world: the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.

The Kemp’s ridley is a resident of the Gulf of Mexico. The turtles lay their eggs either on beaches in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, or across the border on South Padre Island.

Protecting these turtles has long been a mission of the staff at the Padre Island National Seashore – a 70-mile-long strip of South Texas beach managed by the National Park Service. But the turtles may face a new danger: budget cuts.

Highlights from this segment:

-The number of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nests recorded on South Padre Island has increased considerably over the past decade.

-A recent review of the Padre Island National Seashore turtle program revealed that there would be a budget shortfall in three to five years, which led to a number of recommendations that would reduce the size and scope of the program.

-Some locals are pushing for Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to rescind the review. Eric Brunnemann, superintendent of the Padre Island National Seashore, has not responded to questions from local media about the future of the turtle program.

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