+ 2011 a banner year for two sea turtle species
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its partners have documented a record high annual nest count for green turtles in Florida, along with high numbers of leatherback turtle nests.
The leatherback nest count fell just shy of the previous high mark in 2009, according to the FWC.
For the green turtles, the count was 10,701; for the leatherbacks, it was 601. The figures reflect what the FWC calls “core index beaches,” which are surveyed each year to determine nesting trends.
No increase was recorded, however, for loggerheads, the species that nests most commonly in Florida. The nest count for this federally threatened sea turtle was close to average for the previous five years: 41,939. Since 1998, the number of those nests has been in a general decline.
“We’re pleased with the green turtle and leatherback nesting totals in 2011,” said Dr. Blair Witherington, an FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute scientist. “Nesting by both species has been rising dramatically and can be attributed at least in part to major conservation efforts over the past few decades. However, our loggerhead nesting totals have declined, or are at best stable, which suggests that this species has a different, and perhaps more difficult, set of conservation challenges.”
For more information about sea-turtle nest counts, visit MyFWC.com/Research, click on “Wildlife,” then click on “Nesting” under the “Sea Turtle” heading.
Sick or injured sea turtles can be reported by contacting the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
+ Landfill closure, beach park work contracts OK’d
The Sarasota County Commission Tuesday awarded construction contracts totaling $11.9 million for the first phase of the Central County Solid Waste Disposal Complex landfill closure and gas collection system, as well as improvements to Manasota Beach Park, 8570 Manasota Key Road, Manasota Key.
Magnum Builders of Sarasota Inc., one of two local bidders, won the $1.56 million contract for the Manasota Beach Park project, which includes demolition of the existing restrooms and construction of a new restroom pavilion, a refuse enclosure and dune walkover.
Construction is expected to begin in November and to be completed in July. Funding will be provided through revenue bonds that will be repaid with the penny infrastructure surtax.
Thalle Construction Company Inc. of Hillsborough, N.C., won a $10.3 million contract for the landfill work at 4000 Knights Trail Road, Nokomis. There were no local bidders.
The landfill’s 60-acre Phase I area, which opened in 1998, is at capacity. Solid waste operations continue in the recently constructed 56-acre Phase II expansion.
Construction is expected to begin in this month, with completion set for August. Funding is provided through the solid waste capital improvements program.
The address of Cat Depot was incorrectly listed in the Oct. 6 issue. Cat Depot is located at 2542 17th St. Its hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 366-2404.
Meetings & agendas
• School Board — Oct. 18: 10 a.m. workshop, 1980/1960 Landings Blvd., Sarasota; 2 p.m. regular meeting, 1980 Landings Blvd., Sarasota.
• Planning Commission — 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20, R.L. Anderson Administration Center, 4000 Tamiami Trail, Venice.
• Development Review Committee — 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 20, Conference Room Two, 1001 Sarasota Center Blvd., Sarasota.