15 Jun In Turtle awe of the work as a natural resource assistant
Glad you’re back!
My main project for the summer consists of doing different things to better manage natural resources inside Biscayne National Park. As a natural resource management assistant, I am responsible of conducting creel surveys in the Homestead Bayfront and Black Point marinas. These marinas are busy places filled with many fishermen that go out hoping to catch tasty meals. Creel surveys are done to see if recreational fishing regulations implemented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are being met. Fishing regulations inside the Biscayne National Park are important to relieve environmental pressure from fish species and to conserve the bay’s fish abundance and richness. There are around 500 different species of fish inside the bay alone!
In Florida, it’s loggerhead turtle nesting season!
Which means mama turtles are out there looking to see where they can lay their eggs. Elliot key is a popular destination for loggerhead turtles to nest. Beaches where nesting activity has been previously recorded are monitored weekly to see if there’s any new nest and document false crawl activity. It’s important to monitor nesting areas in Elliot Key, since loggerhead turtles are endangered due to poaching and longline commercial fishing. Nests are flagged, identified, and since many nests get predated by crabs or raccoons a metal grate is placed on top of the nests.
Sadly, there’s a lot of trash that washes up the shores of Elliot Key. Beach cleanups are frequently done in Biscayne, however, shoes, toys, plastic, balloons, and crab traps are commonly found all over the beaches where turtles may nest. Balloons pose a big risk to wildlife as they may consume it thinking its food, so the Natural Resource Management team collects as much as they can. Compartments of crab traps are collected as well to have an overall idea of how many traps are out there in the bay.
Amongst other park duties, mooring buoys are placed among different sites in Biscayne National Park. Mooring buoys are an alternative to anchoring, which can cause damage to coral reefs. To place the mooring buoys, the Natural Resource Management team scuba dives to work underwater, while we snorkelers assist them with any tools they need.
P.S: The cheesy pun today was, “In turtle (total) awe of the work as a natural resource assistant”