Sea turtles have been around for millions of years so they know how to adapt to changing environments like moving land and shifting shorelines. The system of survival they’ve developed has been working for them, but sea level rise, beachfront real estate, and manmade walls are encroaching on their habitat, making it harder for them to nest and for their hatchlings to survive.
In Florida, the nonprofit Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) is particularly concerned about three species of sea turtles that regularly nest in Florida: loggerheads, green turtles, and leatherbacks, all of which are listed as endangered or threatened in the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Although the turtles are now increasing in number as a result of conservation efforts, the conservancy is concerned that their recovery may be short-lived.
STC has been tracking the survival of these ancient ocean dwellers for 50 years, and is working on a documentary to alert the public about coastal management issues such as sea level rise and increased frequency of severe coastal storms along the Atlantic Coast, which is contributing to the destruction of sea turtle habitats.But executive director of STC David Godfrey says these coastal issues are compounded by increased building of beachfront homes and the seawalls being put up to protect the homes from flooding. With the threats of climate change affecting Florida’s coasts, Godfrey wonders why governments and municipalities would encourage more development.