U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
| Engineer Research and Development Center | Environmental Laboratory
Click shaded counties above to view information
Coastal states depend on shore protection projects such as beach nourishment to provide quality beaches for tourism and protection of coastal development from storm damage and beach erosion. A major concern during coastal projects from Texas through Virginia is protection of five species of threatened or endangered sea turtles (loggerhead, Caretta caretta; Kemp’s ridley, Lepidochelys kempi; green, Chelonia mydas; leatherback, Dermochelys coriacea; hawksbill, Eretmochelys imbricate) and their nesting habitat; although, the highest density of sea turtle nesting in the United States occurs along the east central coast of Florida. Shore protection categories with documented threats to sea turtles (nesting adults and hatchlings) or their habitat include beach sand placement (beach nourishment, inlet sand bypassing); beach armoring (bulkheads, seawalls, soil retaining walls, rock revetments, sandbags, and geotextile tubes); shoreline stabilizers (groins, jetties, offshore, breakwaters); sand mining; sand fences; and beach lighting. These projects may negatively impact sea turtles or their nesting habitat unless project designs incorporate habitat requirements necessary for successful sea turtle nesting. Not only are data needed to better refine the conservation guidelines and protocols used to establish turtle-friendly project designs but a resource is needed to better archive these data for easier and more widespread use.
The USACE Shore Protection and Sea Turtle Management System was established as an online resource to warehouse sea turtle and shore protection project data as well as related information for easier access when developing project designs. The USACE Shore Protection and Sea Turtle Management System currently focuses primarily on coastal beach nourishment projects along Florida’s coastline and nesting data for the loggerhead sea turtle. This site will later include additional states and sea turtle species. Information regarding additional turtle and non-turtle species potentially impacted by shore protection projects can be accessed via the USACE Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species Management System. Included in the USACE Shore Protection and Sea Turtle Management System is site-specific information and data relevant to sea turtles, Florida shore protection projects (primarily beach nourishment), significant storm histories, and beach erosion. Monitoring and project reports are provided when available. Historical nesting data (loggerheads only) managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Statewide Nesting Beach Survey (SNBS) and Index Nesting Beach Survey (INBS) Programs (available at http://research.myfwc.com/features/view_article.asp?id=10690) were used to calculate false crawl and nesting densities as well as nesting success ratios provided for each location. The GIS coordinates used to define boundaries for each county mapped in this site were downloaded from the Florida Geographic Data Library, which is maintained by the University of Florida's GeoPlan Center. The shapefile was originally created by the US Census Bureau and the GeoPlan Center acquired the dataset from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's GIS Division.
This site has been designed as a highly dynamic system to expand as additional relevant data and informational resources become available.