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Petitioning Acting Director of FWS Rowan Gould and 3 others

Protect Sea Turtles from Coastal Development Subsidies


As a result of a lawsuit settlement, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is preparing a biological assessment to be reviewed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. The NFIP has provided insurance coverage for development projects in critical sea turtle habitat without regard to the impact on the sea turtles.

Florida is the prime location for 90 percent of sea turtle nesting grounds and home to five species of endangered or threatened sea turtles. The lawsuit argued that FEMA failed to abide by regulations in the Endangered Species Act requiring ecological impact statements in endangered species habitat areas.

A report on sea turtle conservation has been issued along with the settlement. This report, a collaborative work between National Wildlife Federation, Florida Wildlife Federation and Sea Turtle Conservancy, emphasized four key actions to address threats to sea turtle survival:

•    Continue funding and support for the FWS-funded Florida Beaches Habitat Conservation Plan
•    Place limits on National Flood Insurance Program subsidies that are used for new development and rebuilding in ecologically important and high hazard land along the coast
•    Support land acquisition programs that preserve minimally-developed coastal land and support coastal restoration projects financed by Deepwater Horizon funds
•    Commit to reducing the impact of climate change on wildlife and ecosystems

FWS and NMFS would be well advised to incorporate these actions into objectives for sea turtle conservation and into their evaluation of FEMA’s biological assessment plan.

Photo Credit: prilfish

This petition was delivered to:
  • Acting Director of FWS
    Rowan Gould
  • Assistant Director of Endangered Species for FWS
    Gary Frazer
  • Assistant Administrator for NMFS
    Eric Schwaab
  • Executive Director MAFAC
    Dr. Mark Holliday

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