Grant: 03-E09E
Project Title: "Sea Turtle Friendly Beaches": A nesting habitat program
Project Manager: Andrew Diller
Organization: Escambia County 4-H Foundation (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $2,790.00
Completion Date: 2007-01-11

Summary: Florida Sea Grant extension agents along the Florida Panhandle will work with local marine turtle permit holders and beach-front property owners to establish criteria and guidelines to make developed beach habitat as sea turtle friendly for nesting as possible. Activities will include reducing the effects of artificial lights, removal/relocation of beach furniture at night, protecting/re-establishing sand dunes, cleaning up marine debris, and educating beach users. Facilities (hotels, condominiums, restaurants, etc.) and individual homeowners that work to meet these guidelines will be recognized as providing Sea Turtle Friendly beaches.

Results: Florida Sea Grant's competitive bidding process enabled the program to print 14,000 copies (Beechler Waters Inc. of Gainesville), almost three times more than planned. Also, as a Florida Sea Grant publication, the brochure is available in the National Sea Grant Library. For the TFBP's pilot project area of Escambia County, materials have been available at the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA), Gulf Islands National Seashore, county Extension and environmental offices, local Visitor's Centers, and during special events. Santa Rosa through Bay counties in the Panhandle distributed materials at similar locations. Statewide, Florida Sea Grant agents distributed materials in the Tampa Bay and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas. Copies are also available from the Florida Sea Grant office in Gainesville. To date, nearly 5,000 brochures have been distributed. Sea Grant team members agree to offer Florida FWCC and USFWS lighting workshops in local communities. Program coordinator assisted with Destin workshop in 2005. St. Lucie County began to adapt the TFBP for local beaches in 2006 and received funding from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The TFBP will renew Escambia and Santa Rosa County area efforts beginning with a meeting on February 8th at Naval Live Oaks. USFWS, Gulf Islands National Seashore, SRIA, County, and other officials expected to attend. Dates for TFBP and lighting workshops will be determined and program sites discussed. (Author: Andrew Diller)