Don't let 13 beachfront homeowners endanger sea turtle nesting with unnecessary.

Don't let 13 beachfront homeowners endanger sea turtle nesting with unnecessary.

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Never Endanger Sea Turtles (NEST) started this petition to County Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker and

Don’t let 13 beachfront homeowners in Ponte Vedra set a precedent that could obstruct sea turtle nesting in the entire state of Florida  - where 90% of all endangered sea turtles in the U.S. lay their eggs!

Sign this petition to ask St. Johns County Commissioners to reverse their decision allowing 25% of Mickler’s Beach parking lot to be used for two months to stage the installation of geotextile tubes on Ponte Vedra Beach, slated to begin in November. Don’t let 13 homeowners install that will harm nesting sea turtles, cause further erosion to our coastline and may introduce contaminated river dirt and low quality sand to our beach.

What are geotextile tubes?  They’re massive tubes of sand that will be stacked over 12 feet high between homes and ocean for an indefinite period of time. They will initially be covered with sand, but they don’t tend to stay covered.  Experts say they interfere with endangered sea turtle nesting, and the contractors who have the permit to install them have a history of (1) bringing river dirt to our beautiful beaches – creating an eyesore, harming turtle nests and containing rocks, clay clods as big as basketballs, fragments of concrete, vinyl sheeting, metal, and other foreign objects that pose harm to humans as well as wildlife, (2) illegally scraping sand from the public beach and transporting it to private property, and (3) leaving their own construction debris buried shallowly on the beach, obstructing turtle nesting.

Why do the 13 homeowners want geotextile tubes?  The geotextile tubes industry has convinced them that their homes are in danger even though every one of the homes is far enough back from the high water line to be safe, according to DEP (the Department of Environmental Protection).  By issuing Geotubes permits for these homes, the DEP has set a precedent for homes statewide that are not at risk. This precedent-setting act potentially endangers sea turtles statewide.

What can the county commissioners do?  They can reverse their decision allowing Micklers to be used as a staging area. On October 1, 2019,  they voted to allow the use of Micklers for geotextile tubes installation. There was no opposition to the plan because the only notification of the hearing was an agenda item posted online with little notice.  We respectfully ask the St. Johns County commissioners to reverse their decision.

What can’t the county commissioners do?  They cannot rule on the geotextile tubes decision. They cannot override DEP. They can only allow – or disallow – the use of Mickler’s parking lot by the Geotube contractor.

How can the geotextile tubes be stopped for good?  The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has received a citizen notice of concern of the geotextile tubes project, which is under review at USFWS, for impacts to Leatherback Turtle nesting. 

Are the 13 homes in danger?  No. Not according to DEP. And Ponte Vedra’s eventual beach renourishment (including Micklers) will make the geotextile tubes even more unnecessary.

How do geotextile tubes erode the beach and hurt sea turtles?  After sand placed on the tubes washes away, the waves hit the tubes directly and take out the sand in front of them which lowers the floor of the beach. When the sandy coastline narrows, there’s less nesting habitat. (Less sand for people, too.) When the tube is uncovered, the turtles can’t nest on the tube. Furthermore, the tubes will initially have 3 feet of sand on them, but endangered leatherbacks need five feet of sand to nest in. Currently, there’s little to no enforcement of frequent violations in sea turtle habitat in Ponte Vedra, so there’s no expectation that DEP will require compliance with maintaining three feet of sand on tubes or that they will demand that high quality sand be used in the first place.

Please sign this petition today and share it statewide! Include the name of your county in your comment.

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!