STEWARDSHIP



Debris And Pollution — Education, Stewardship, And Community

PROGRAM LINK:  
https://marinedebris.noaa.gov/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=GovDelivery


NOAA Planet Stewards Program Links:


🐟  FTC Will Make Changes In South West Florida Catch-And-Release Area —

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will make changes to snook, redfish and spotted seatrout management in the area of southwest Florida where they are currently catch-and-release only.   As a reminder, snook, redfish and spotted sea trout were temporarily made catch-and-release only in this area after these fisheries were impacted by a 2017-2019 severe red tide.  You are responsible for knowing these changes, guaranteed the FTC officers know the current rules.   https://myfwc.com/research/


Help Sea Turtles Survive: Fwc Offers Tips On Helping Hatchlings  —  Sea turtle hatchlings are beginning to appear on beaches throughout the Sunshine State, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking the public to help ensure these tiny turtles reach the ocean by following a few simple guidelines. 

During sea turtle nesting season (March 1 – Oct. 31), it is important to keep your distance from these protected marine reptiles and their nests. You should allow hatchlings to crawl toward the ocean on their own. Any interference or disturbance, including getting too close, can cause hatchlings to become confused and lose their way. 

Bright lights, whether from buildings, phones or cameras, can also cause them to become disoriented, leading the hatchlings to stray away from the waves. If they are unable to reach the ocean quickly, they can become vulnerable to dehydration, exhaustion and predators. 

“Interfering with a sea turtle hatchling’s trek to the ocean can have fatal consequences,” said FWC sea turtle biologist Robbin Trindell. “It’s very important to leave them undisturbed. By keeping beaches dark and giving sea turtles space, we can make sure that our children and grandchildren can also enjoy watching them make this amazing journey.”

There are many ways you can make a difference for Florida’s sea turtles:

  • Keep beaches dark for sea turtles – After sundown, turn off any lights not necessary for human safety. Use long wavelength amber LED lamps for lights that must stay lit and shield lights, so they are not visible from the beach. Remember to close shades or curtains.
  • No flash photos – On the beach at night, don’t take flash photos or use bright cellphones or flashlights. This can cause turtles to become disoriented and crawl away from the ocean, putting them at risk.
  • Remember, sea turtles are protected by law – Stay back and give sea turtles space if you see one on the beach at night. Don’t touch a nesting turtle because it may leave the beach without nesting if disturbed. Remember, it is illegal to harm or disturb nesting sea turtles, their nests, eggs or hatchlings.
  • Clear the way at the end of the day – Beach furniture, canopies, boats and toys left behind on the sand can become obstacles that block nesting and hatchling turtles. Fill in any holes dug in the sand. Holes can trap turtles, and can also pose a safety risk for other beachgoers. 
  • Before taking any action, report sea turtles that are sick, injured, dead, entangled or otherwise in danger to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 1-888-404-3922 or text Tip@MyFWC.com.


FWC Announces New Way To Report Gopher Tortoise Sightings —  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is launching a new interactive web application designed to provide biologists with thorough and reliable data, and promote science-based gopher tortoise conservation efforts. The new system will replace the Florida Gopher Tortoise smartphone app, which will be decommissioned Sept. 8. 

The new web application is user-friendly and is designed to function on any device. To report a tortoise sighting or notify the FWC of a sick, injured or dead tortoise, simply visit MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise and click on the button that reads “Report Gopher Tortoise Sightings.” There, you can also view an interactive map, which features user-submitted photos and locations of tortoise sightings throughout the state. 

“We appreciate the thousands of citizen scientists who have reported gopher tortoise sightings using our original Florida Gopher Tortoise app over the years,” said Michelina Dziadzio, monitoring coordinator for the Wildlife Diversity Conservation Section of the FWC. “These citizen scientists have helped the FWC enhance gopher tortoise conservation and we’re excited for their continued participation using the new web app.”

The gopher tortoise is a protected species that occurs in all 67 Florida counties. The tortoise is known as a keystone species, and its burrows serve as important refuges for 350 native species including threatened species such as the Eastern indigo snake, the burrowing owl and the gopher frog.   For more information about gopher tortoises, visit MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise.

05/24/2022