May Newsletter

This month, our team in the Gulf of Mexico reported many disturbing incidents that directly impact the wellbeing of our environment, including endangered sea turtles. From two big pollution events occurring in the Galveston Bay, to reports of hundreds of dead wildlife washing up on beaches, we're on the front lines of each of these issues, and appreciate your continued support as we monitor the health of our oceans and our communities.

Lawsuit Launched to Force Federal Government to Protect Endangered Species from Nuclear Power Plant in Florida

Turtle Island Restoration Network and Beyond Nuclear filed a formal notice yesterday of their intent to sue the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for failing to protect endangered species from illegal intake and harm at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant in Jensen Beach, Florida. For decades, the continued operation of the plant’s once-through cooling intake system has routinely captured, harmed and killed thousands of marine animals, most notably endangered and threatened species of sea turtle as well as the endangered smalltooth sawfish.

Record-Breaking Sea Turtles Strand on Texas Coastline

A record-breaking number of sea turtles stranded off the Texas coast in April and May during the height of nesting season. Sadly, most turtles were found dead. Turtle Island Restoration Network is concerned the increase in strandings (when sea turtles are found dead, injured, sick, or exhibit abnormal behavior) is caused by illegal fishing in the coastal waters. We need your help asking Congress to save endangered sea turtles and ensure wildlife officers can detect and apprehend illegal vessels in waters off the Texas coast.

Nesting Season Underway in Gulf of Mexico

Nesting season is officially underway in the Gulf of Mexico! So far this year, 121 Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests have been confirmed on the Texas coast, including one green sea turtle nest and the first loggerhead sea turtle nest of the season. Please remember to call the hotline 1-866-TURTLE-5 if you see a sea turtle on the beach anywhere on the Texas Coast. For daily reports on nest counts on the Texas coast, please visit our sea turtle counts.

WATCH: Lagunitas Creek Restoration by SPAWN

A recently released video produced by Lori Eanes highlights Turtle Island Restoration Network’s California-based initiative, the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network, and our largest habitat restoration project to date. The first phase of the project saw the removal of 20 million pounds of soil to recreate floodplains that are critical to the survival of endangered Coho salmon in Marin County, California.  

United States Opts Out of Plastic Waste Treaty

On May 10, 187 countries took a major step forward in curbing the plastic waste crisis by adding plastic to the Basel Convention, a treaty that controls the movement of hazardous waste from one country to another. The United States, perhaps not surprisingly, opposed listing plastic. “The Trump administration is toxic,” said Executive Director Todd Steiner. “Plastic pollution is poisoning marine life like sea turtles and humans, and continuing our reliance on fossil fuels that is causing climate disruption is threatening all life on Earth. We need to end our addiction to plastic pollution and remove politicians that deny climate change.”

Study Reveals Hawaii Longline Fishing Industry Vulnerable to Forced Labor Practice

The Human Rights Institute released its latest report, "The Price of Paradise: Vulnerabilities to Forced Labor in the Hawaiian Longline Fishing Industry," which assesses systemic vulnerabilities to forced labor faced by foreign workers in the Hawaiian longline fishing fleet through the lens of both international and U.S. domestic law. It then examines how these vulnerabilities impact foreign fishermen over the course of their employment in Hawai‘i, and concludes with recommendations for legislators, government agencies, and industry actors to address these vulnerabilities.

April 2019 Cocos Expedition: The Hammerheads

Turtle Island Restoration Network's team of researchers and citizen scientists recently returned from our latest research expedition from Cocos Island, Costa Rica, where we conduct sea turtle and shark migration research. Many people travel specifically to Cocos Island to witness and photograph the “wallpaper” of hammerhead schools, almost exclusively female, that number in the hundreds. This expedition did not disappoint! You can read all about the hammerheads we saw on our blog.

Galveston Benefit: Tickets Available in June

Turtle Island Restoration Network will host The Art of Saving Sea Turtles, an evening benefit celebrating local sea turtle conservation and community art, on Sunday, September 29 at The Bryan Museum in Galveston, Texas. In its second year, The Art of Saving Sea Turtles showcases the Turtles About Town community-based art project and TIRN's sea turtle conservation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Tickets will be available for purchase starting in June. For more details and to purchase tickets, please visit our website.

California Seamounts Declared a Hope Spot

In May, ocean organizations worldwide joined Mission Blue in declaring the California seamounts a Hope Spot in recognition of the immense biological value they possess and the need for long-term protection from unsustainable practices including oil and gas development, destructive fishing methods and the possibility of deep-sea mining. These seamounts provide a home to biologically important treasures critical to the health of the ocean, and are home to creatures like the endangered blue and gray whales, sperm whales, sharks, rare deep‐sea corals that take hundreds of years to grow, and seabirds hunting high overhead for fish that aggregate near the seamounts.

Divers and Snorkelers: Decontaminate Your Gear

Florida's coral reefs are experiencing a multi-year outbreak of stony coral tissue loss disease. While disease outbreaks are not uncommon, this event is unique due to its large geographic range, extended duration, rapid progression, high rates of mortality and the number of species affected. The disease is thought to be caused by bacteria and can be transmitted to other corals through direct contact and water circulation. If you are a diver or a snorkeler, please help protect coral reefs by using these guidelines to decontaminate your gear. 

Dive With us in Cocos Island This December!

This December, a crew of volunteer citizen divers and researchers will join Turtle Island Restoration Network in Cocos Island, Costa Rica to spend 10 days viewing, experiencing, and photographing the incredible marine biodiversity of the Eastern Tropical Pacific, as well as participating in sea turtle and shark migration research. There is still room on our expeditionplease join us! The trip is scheduled for December 10-20, 2019, and is only $530 per day. As a public charity, payment towards a Turtle Island Restoration Network dive expedition may be tax-deductible. We also offer payment plans!

Upcoming Events

  • Sunday, September 29: The Art of Saving Sea Turtles. An evening benefit celebrating local sea turtle conservation and community art. In its second year, The Art of Saving Sea Turtles showcases the Turtles About Town community-based art project and TIRN's sea turtle conservation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Tickets go on sale in June and are available on our website

Corrections: In April edition of eNews, the 2019 Cocos Scholarship recipient Julia Janacki was incorrectly identified as an undergraduate at UW-Madison. Janacki is currently working on a master's degree.

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Turtle Island Restoration Network
PO Box 370, Forest Knolls, CA 94933