WASHINGTON, D.C., - The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced the first projects supported under the NFWF's Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife. With a $2 million investment from the fund, NFWF is joining partners in the Gulf region immediately to protect populations of sea turtles at risk from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The NFWF fund will focus on the survival of several species that depend on the Gulf, notably Kemp's ridleys and loggerheads.
"The projects will protect the greatest number of turtles possible in areas outside the spill, to bolster populations so that they can recover from the impact," said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director of NFWF. "These critical conservation actions will result in benefits for sea turtle populations through all phases of their life cycles, for this year and beyond."
Urgent action is needed as sea turtles begin the summer nesting season and migrate through the Gulf.
In consultation with conservation experts, NFWF is investing in projects to:
- Increase sea turtle hatchling success along Florida beaches and barrier islands, key areas for loggerheads. Projects on these beaches will protect baby turtles from a variety of threats. Funding will support habitat enhancement to further the greatest reproductive success.
- Support and build capacity for response networks, critical care and rehabilitation centers throughout the Gulf of Mexico. NFWF will provide necessary financial resources to rehabilitation centers and stranding networks to replenish critical supplies and equipment. Stocks were severely depleted in treating animals affected by record cold temperatures last winter.
- Protect adult and juvenile turtles from entanglement and death in fishing gear. Safe turtle gear innovations are the most effective solutions to prevent the loss of sea turtles. Coupled with improved fishing practices, these actions will enhance the opportunity for the recovery of sea turtle populations in the Gulf. Work will begin immediately to supply turtle-safe gear for fishermen in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the south Atlantic coast, a critical migratory path for Gulf sea turtle populations. Eligible fishermen will be notified immediately of the opportunity to participate.
NFWF's Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife was made possible with proceeds from BP's share of net revenue from oil recovered from the Deepwater Horizon site. With an initial commitment of $5 million, the fund will support immediate actions to safeguard the populations of species most at risk from the Gulf oil spill, notably sea turtles, shorebirds, waterfowl and marsh birds.