Various organizations are trying to draw attention to the need to conserve areas like the Northeast Ecological Corridor along the coast near El Yunque, a primary nesting ground for the endangered leatherback sea turtle.
Groups are asking federal officials to save the area from tourism development by designating it a critical habitat for the leatherback. ----------------------------
The shortsighted vision of our present governor is attempting to destroy an extremely valuable natural reserve. This area was designated a reserve by the previous governor by executive order and that protection was removed by Governor Fortuño. WHY? .... for developement. He can undo an executive order that saved this turtle nesting habitat, but no one in the future will be able to undo the destruction caused by developement. unfortunately.. It needs to be stopped now.
SIERRA CLUB PETITION MAY 2011:
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Notice of 90-Day Finding on a Petition to Revise Critical Habitat for the Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle Under the Endangered Species Act
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.
SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition to revise critical habitat for
the endangered leatherback sea turtle under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the
petition presents substantial scientific information indicating that the petitioned action may be
warranted for leatherback sea turtles and their habitat under our jurisdiction.
.............. If the habitat has been designated on land the consultation would be with USFWS, and if the habitat has been designated in the marine environment, the consultation would be with NMFS.
..............The petitioner ( Sierra Club) requests that we designate critical habitat for leatherback turtles in the waters off the coastline of the Northeast Ecological Corridor of Puerto Rico1, sufficient to protect leatherback turtles using the Northeast Ecological Corridor, and extending at least to the hundred fathom contour, or 9 nautical miles offshore, whichever is further, and including the existing marine extensions of the Espiritu Santo, Cabezas de San Juan, and Arreceifes de la Cordillera Nature Reserves. This portion of the petitioned critical habitat, which falls under NMFS' jurisdiction, is described by the petitioner as having three primary constituent elements:
(1) "Migratory pathway conditions to allow for safe and timely passage and access to/from/within nesting sites at San Miguel, Paulinas, and Convento Beaches in the Northeast Ecological Corridor of Puerto Rico;"
(2) "Migratory pathway conditions and open ocean conditions to allow for safe and timely passage and access to/from/within breeding sites offshore of the nesting sites at San Miguel, Paulinas, and Convento Beaches in the Northeast Ecological Corridor of Puero Rico;"
(3) "Water quality to support normal growth, reproduction, development, viability,
...........Thus, in reviewing a petition to revise critical habitat we consider the information presented on the following three aspects of critical habitat as defined in the ESA: the physical or biological features identified, the explanation of how such features may be essential to a species' conservation, and how those features may require special management considerations.
May 8, 2007 La Selva Beach Leatherback turtle track Photo Sherri.
...........the Sierra Club's second petition proposes three primary constituent elements and specific boundaries of the critical habitat, as detailed above. The petition also supports the proposed critical habitat revision by reporting what is known from existing accounts of leatherback mating behavior: mating seems to occur, at least in part, in areas adjacent to nesting beaches. The information from satellite tagging studies of six leatherback turtles indicates heavy use by those turtles of the area described in the petition. .......... the additional information presented in this petition supports the required determination that the "areas petitioned to be added to critical habitat contain physical and biological features essential to, and that may require special management to provide for, the conservation of the species involved."
......FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dennis Klemm, NMFS, Southeast Regional
Office, Protected Resources Division, email@example.com, (727)824-5312; or Lisa
Manning, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, firstname.lastname@example.org, (301)713–1401.
Why this beach? It is all that is left in this area and the most important turtle nesting site in the Caribbean. This is partly due to several unique factors. The wave action helps these giant beasts get out of the water every 4 years or so to lay their eggs. There are no lights nor other disturbances to cause the baby hatchlings to go the wrong way and go inland ( where they die) instead of finding their way to the ocean. The turtles need this beach.
Baby Leatherback hatchling reaches the sea. Only one in 1,000 survive.
EXPLORE EASTERN PUERTO RICO - THE 5 BEST ATTRACTIONS
The Sierra Club Vision and Map, Click Here.
Above is the overbuilt town of Fajardo next to the newly UN designated reserve and below is the town of Luquillo with La Selva Beach and turtle nesting site in the foreground.
La Selva, the most important Leatherback turtle nesting site in the Caribbean. Luquillo town in the background. This is the westernmost end of the new reserve, now under proposal for development again. The executive order ( protecting this reserve) made by the previous governor has been rescinded by the present governor. .
We owe future generations our best effort to leave them a healthy viable planet. Or as one commenter beautifully put it: "We are patriots when we act not on our own behalf, but on behalf of future generations yet unborn."
You can walk to this beach, from the town of Luquillo ( but it is absolutely not safe to walk here at night). Take a morning walk with a few other people, down this stretch of deserted beach. . When conditions are rough here, you should not swim.
The town of Luquillo has several beaches that are calmer and safer for swimming. The Luquillo Balneario is always calm.
Seven Seas Beach in Fajardo is a terrific beach to swim in in all conditions.