“For decades, the public releases of baby Kemp’s ridley turtles at the Padre Island National Seashore have been one of the most popular summer rituals of the Texas Gulf Coast.
“In a lot of ways, it’s like being a mother. You find the nest, you protect the eggs and the hatchlings at release,” biologist Donna Shaver, the longtime chief of the National Park Service sea turtle recovery program, said after a release in 2017.
Among the proposed changes are cutting funding for the turtle program; cutting back on beach patrols that allow spotters to quickly find nests that contain newly laid eggs; and reducing the number of eggs taken to the incubation facility for hatching, instead leaving some to hatch in beach “corrals” and in beach nests.
In July, a nonprofit watchdog organization filed an administrative complaint on behalf of Shaver with the National Park Service.
The 28-page complaint by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, based in Washington D.C., says the National Park Service report “suffers from a lack of integrity, accuracy, completeness and reliability,” and asks that it be withdrawn.”