Mote requests $15,000 from Longboat Key for sea turtle monitoring
Mote Marine Laboratory has sent a letter to the town expressing an urgent need for $15,000 to continue its sea turtle nesting program, as this year’s record numbers of sea turtle nests has caused an increase in monitoring.
Mote states, “The combination of a nearly 75 percent reduction in Town of Longboat Key (TLBK) annual funding support to Mote Marine Laboratory and a doubling of TLBK sea turtle nesting activity to record levels has led to the inability of Mote to continue its current sea turtle monitoring program on TLBK.”
Public Works Director Juan Florensa issued a memo to Town Manager David Bullock and town commissioners explaining that the North End beach renourishment, completed in June 2011, requires sea turtle monitoring for the initial nesting season (2011) and for a minimum of three additional nesting seasons (2012-2014).
“This monitoring area includes the sandy beach of Greer Island beginning at the Longboat Pass Bridge to approximately Gulfside Road for a total length of approximately 1.5 miles. This is required by the conditions imposed by Federal and State regulatory agencies as part of the permit issuance. Mote Marine Laboratory (MML) is contracted by the Town to perform this work. In 2012 the Town paid MML $23,600,” wrote Florensa.
Florensa also explained that in previous years the entire 11-mile town shoreline was required to be monitored by permit conditions at a cost of approximately $86,700. According to Florensa, those permit requirements have expired and so the town is only required to monitor a section at the North End.
Mote has taken on the remainder of the beach shoreline monitoring at its own expense, and the town currently contributes $23,600.