Lawsuit Launched to Protect Green Sea Turtle Habitat Threatened by Sea-level Rise, Plastic Pollution, Warming

Lawsuit Launched to Protect Green Sea Turtle Habitat Threatened by Sea-level Rise, Plastic Pollution, Warming

August 13, 2019

Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Todd Steiner, (415) 488-7652, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Richard Whitecloud, (954) 770-2344, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lawsuit Launched to Protect Green Sea Turtle Habitat Threatened by Sea-level Rise, Plastic Pollution, Warming

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity, Sea Turtle Oversight Protection and Turtle Island Restoration Network today filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government for failing to protect green sea turtle habitat, which faces threats from sea-level rise, plastic pollution and warming.

In response to green sea turtle population recovery, the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 found that growing climate change and sea-level-rise threats mean the turtles remain threatened and still need Endangered Species Act protections. Despite those threats — particularly to low-lying nesting beaches — the agencies failed to protect the turtle’s critical habitat under the Act.

“The recovery of most green sea turtle populations is a beacon of hope in our changing oceans, but we’ve got to protect the places they live,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Protecting sea turtle habitat will keep them crossing oceans and loyally coming ashore to dig nests on our beaches.”

“The Trump administration’s moral and legal attacks on our country’s greatest achievements extend all the way to the gentle and defenseless sea turtles that are guaranteed protection under the Endangered Species Act,” said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “It is unconscionable.”

A 2019 peer-reviewed study by Center scientists found most marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act are recovering. Listed species with critical habitat protections and those listed for more than 20 years are most likely to be rebounding.

“Coastal nesting beaches are losing suitable nesting habitat due to sea level rise, as well as increased temperatures, which further jeopardizes the survival of green sea turtle,” said Richard Whitecloud, founding director of STOP. “It is the government’s responsibility to protect this essential habitat to ensure these marine turtles survive.”

Federal experts have found that green sea turtles should be considered 11 distinct populations, or “distinct population segments.” Although some sea turtle populations are improving significantly due to the protections of the Endangered Species Act, like those in Florida, several populations continue to struggle. The Mediterranean, Central South Pacific and Central West Pacific populations remain in danger of extinction and remain listed as “endangered.”

The Endangered Species Act prohibits federal agencies from authorizing activities that will destroy or harm a listed species’ critical habitat. Animals with federally protected critical habitat are more than twice as likely to be recovering as species without it.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Turtle Island Restoration Network is a global nonprofit whose mission is to inspire and mobilize people around the world to protect marine biodiversity and the oceans that sustain all life on Earth.

Sea Turtle Oversight Protection is a non-profit sea turtle conservation organization made up of local volunteers who conduct nighttime nest surveys and monitoring to rescue and release disoriented sea turtle hatchlings in Broward County, Florida.


Notice of Intent to Sue – Green Sea Turtle – Failure to Designate Critical Habitat

Final Rule To List Eleven Distinct Population Segments of the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) as Endangered or Threatened and Revision of Current Listings Under the Endangered Species Act

Study: 77 Percent of Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles Recovering Under Endangered Species Act

The Effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act: A Quantitative Analysis

Name the 1st Leatherback hatchling of 2019

Let the bidding begin!
STOP volunteers will start monitoring the first leatherback nest of the season and will be naming the turtles that emerge from the nest disoriented.
THIS IS YOUR CHANCE to name the first documented Leatherback sea turtle hatchling of the season!
Bidding Starts...NOW!
Bidding starts at $15. You may bid as many times as you like.
Bids are to be in $5 minimum increments.
Write your name and bid amount in the comments on the facebook post
Example bid:
Name: Squirt
Bid: $20
Name: Princess Peach
Bid: $25
Happy Bidding!

Give Back to the Turtles at Bona Italian Restaurant

What is STOP? STOP is a non-profit sea turtle conservation organization made up of local volunteers who conduct nighttime nest surveys and monitoring to rescue and release disoriented sea turtle hatchlings in Broward County, Florida.

The program has reduced the hatchling mortality rate by over 50% in Broward County. Our FWCC certified nighttime survey volunteers monitor sea turtle nests and count the number of hatchlings that emerge. Hatchlings that go east to the ocean are left alone. Hatchlings that disorient to lights are documented and recovered in buckets. Rescued hatchlings are released into the sea or taken to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. We record the data with mobile devices in real-time using the FORMS app from Device Magic and publish the results on an interactive map as a public service. Since 2007, STOP volunteers have bucketed over 240,000 hatchlings that disoriented to lights on Broward County beaches.

For more information visit:

Hands Across The Sand

It’s time to get trashed again with Surfrider Broward & Sun of a Beach Cleanup! Let’s clean the beach then join hands in solidarity against offshore drilling! Together we can prove how much we love this beautiful place we call home! We all deserve clean water & healthy beaches. Protect what you love! 

We will meeting at the Jetty pavilion. It’s at the north end of the park by Port Everglades & across from the NSU campus. Don’t forget to mention you are attending the cleanup for free admission to the park.

At 10:45 AM we will dump our trash & join hands along the shoreline to show the world our opposition again seismic air gun testing & oil drill off our coasts!

For more information visit:



This will be our fourth year offering the very successful Citizen’s Scientist Program. You are eligible to participate in this program with the purchase of a one-year membership. The program is unlike any other marine conservation program!  If you love the environment and would like to work hands-on in the conservation of an endangered species and their habitats then you need to take a look at our program and/or share this with someone who fits this criteria. You don't have to be a Ph.D. Biologist or a Government Official! You just have to be an active member of our organization!
Spend 6 nights side by side with our rescue staff and experience what it’s like to be on the front lines of conservation of an endangered species! Our guests observe firsthand the perils hatchlings face on their critical journey to find the ocean. Life for sea turtles on a heavily urbanized nesting beach requires multiple conservation strategies. Unfortunately, that will always involve some form of regulated human interaction to aid in their population maintenance and possible population recovery.
Our rescue program plays a vital role in the conservation strategy for the Broward County sea turtle population recovery. We have saved the lives of over 240,000 sea turtle hatchlings disoriented away from the ocean by urban lighting. This remarkable accomplishment is attributed to being at the right place at the right time. The methodology is consistent because of how we deploy customized real-time data analysis.
For further information or questions, please call the Hotline @ 954-404-0025 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



This past year we had another season of successful rescue operations, all things considered!  Another very long sea turtle season that lasted March 1st, 2018 into January 2019 season!  A hand full of late-season nests were observed on just a few remaining zones of Broward County. We had several Green Sea Turtle females emerge a bit later in the season. Interestingly, It is not that unusual to have a few late nesting mamas.  However, the viability of the latest nests was less than average; meaning that a high percentage of the latter nests did not hatch out. As per our protocol, our dedication and willingness to persevere through a marathon sea turtle season, we know the hatchlings rely on us at all times. We are always humbled by our volunteers who juggle everything that life can dish out and still make time to give to our beloved sea turtles!  In honor of their hard work, we have provided a summary of their efforts derived from the data they collect, in the field, and the number of hours, dedicated to this endeavor:

2018 Season Report

Least we do not forget an arduous Florida Summer of hot, muggy nights and sweat-laden clothes and heavy backpacks bearing down on the shoulders of each volunteer, enduring several miles long turtle patrols, on foot. The data shows that we, fortunately, and through the well-coordinated work of our Zone Leader and Seasonal and New Volunteers alike, arrived at most hatch-outs on time and were able to prevent injury and loss of life for the hatchlings that were disoriented.  The poor babies are almost always confused by our now industrial civilization illuminating coastal nights! To those we didn't arrive to on time, we labored - often for hours - veering here and there on the sand, over the seaweed, through dunes of sand spurs and sea oats, following single tracks of single hatchlings, one after the other, and hopefully locating as many as possible to release into the ocean as they should be! We pulled them out of the roads, out of storm drains, and away from feral cats. Occasionally, we picked tiny corpses up or came across hatchlings barely hanging on to life hours later, as the sun was coming up. We did all that we could humanly do and to the best of our ability. We do it every season and will continue to do it. We will do it next season because we remember each and every time, our efforts will save the precious lives of Sea Turtles! 

The data speaks for itself and we speak for the turtles!:

Hatchlings observed that made it to the ocean unassisted were: 29,655

Hatchlings that disoriented in count/observation: 31,565

Hatchlings that were rescued and released from disorientation: 29,237

Missing in Action, : 2,328

Dead reported: 60

Taken to rehab: 305


How you can help

There are many ways you can help us keep feet on the sand, buckets in hand, and flippers in the sea.



Become a SeaTurtleOP member
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Turtle Treks

Hatchling rescue walk eco-tour
A special adventure of a lifetime