Ocean Currents » Atlantic coast http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:18:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 5 Things Sea Turtles Need to Survive http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/26/5-things-sea-turtles-need-to-survive/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/26/5-things-sea-turtles-need-to-survive/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:14:12 +0000 Rachel Guillory http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12999

Sea turtles have a strong sense of place—when it’s time to nest, they return to the same beach where they hatched decades before. Many residents of the Gulf Coast share that same sense of place (my own family has lived in Louisiana for more than ten generations!)

That’s why sea turtles are a great mascot for the Gulf Coast. It’s also why Ocean Conservancy’s new video outlining a vision for a healthy Gulf is told from the perspective of a loggerhead sea turtle. In honor of the star of our video, here are five things that sea turtles need to survive and thrive.

1.     A nice beach to nest on

Most sea turtles (with the exception of the Kemp’s ridley) nest at night, and always on the same beach where they were born. If a beach is crowded with lights, noise or debris, a mother sea turtle is less likely to nest there. In 2010, fewer loggerhead sea turtles nested in the Florida Panhandle because workers covered the beaches that summer, cleaning up after the BP oil disaster. Scientists also moved thousands of sea turtle eggs from Alabama and Florida beaches to Florida’s Atlantic Coast that summer, so that the hatchlings wouldn’t be killed by oil as they swam into the Gulf. Because those sea turtles were born on the Atlantic Coast, they may never come back to the Gulf.

2.     The quickest route to the sea

When baby sea turtles hatch, they instinctively run for the bright horizon offshore. But bright lights from roads, buildings and even flashlights can confuse hatchlings, causing them to run in the wrong direction. You can prevent this by using a red filter on your flashlight when you’re on the beach at night, and turning off any lights that face the ocean.

3.     A safe place to grow up

Once they’ve made it to the ocean, many young sea turtles rely on floating seaweed mats, called sargassum, to hide from predators. Sargassum is not just a nursery for little sea turtles—young fish also find safe haven here.

4.     Lots of food to eat

The leatherback sea turtle’s favorite food is jellyfish. But a floating, clear plastic bag can look an awful lot like a jellyfish dinner. When sea turtles consume marine debris by mistake, it can get stuck in their stomachs and cause major damage. Reducing the amount of trash in the ocean means turtles can steer clear of plastic and stick to the jellyfish meals they love.

5.     Your help

All sea turtles are affected by ocean trash, whether mistaking the trash for food, getting a flipper caught in a discarded six-pack ring or being unable to surface for air while accidentally stuck in a fishing net. For every sea turtle that hatches, only one out of 100 will survive to adulthood. Let’s make their chance of survival a little better by keeping our beaches clean and our trash out of the ocean.

Right now, our Gulf leaders are updating a plan to restore the Gulf of Mexico. The new plan is a step in the right direction, but there is more work to be done to protect sea turtles and all who rely on the Gulf.

Send a message to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council today and ask them to ensure a healthy future for the Gulf.

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Offshore Wind Moving Closer to Providing Renewable Energy to the East Coast http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/01/25/offshore-wind-moving-closer-to-providing-renewable-energy-to-the-east-coast/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/01/25/offshore-wind-moving-closer-to-providing-renewable-energy-to-the-east-coast/#comments Fri, 25 Jan 2013 19:40:31 +0000 Anna Zivian http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=4404

Credit: Wind Turbines by Shutterstock/Dennis van de Water

2013 may be a very windy year. All along the Atlantic Coast, offshore renewable power has been getting a boost. In states from North Carolina to Maine, growing support for wind energy has led to practical steps that will get this industry moving.

In North Carolina, Governor McCrory has announced his support for offshore renewable wind development, saying it would help grow North Carolina’s economy and provide jobs. On Tuesday, in Annapolis, Maryland, Governor O’Malley rolled out a bill to create incentives for offshore renewable energy. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, wind projects are under construction. In Maine, the Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 on Thursday to approve the terms for Statoil, a Norwegian state energy company, to move forward with a $120 floating wind turbine test project, clearing the biggest step in making the proposal a reality. All along the East Coast, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is moving forward with a public planning to help site offshore wind farms, making sure to consider other ocean users and environmental concerns in the process.

Finally, to help tie it all together, in New Jersey, Atlantic Wind Connection announced that it will be moving forward with plans for the first part of its offshore transmission line that will help connect offshore wind farms to the grid to provide energy to homes and businesses in New Jersey. Construction of the 189-mile segment (of what will eventually be a 350-mile line) is scheduled to be completed by 2015. Even before the line delivers wind energy, it will help (off)shore up the transmission infrastructure.

As we saw from Hurricane Sandy, storms can wreak havoc on the energy distribution system, knocking down power lines and causing hundreds of thousands of people to lose electricity. Having a line offshore and undersea means that at least part of the energy grid will be less vulnerable to the hurricanes and strong storms that are growing more frequent.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management made a finding of no competitive interest and approved AWC to move forward with its permitting process in 2011. The public process for approval allows stakeholders, the public and state and federal agencies to review where and how the line will be sited, what impacts construction of the line could cause, and whether there might be any conflicts created by building the line. This smart planning also lets AWC coordinate with other users to figure out the best routes for the line so that it can link up easily to future offshore wind farms as well as to existing onshore infrastructure.

As Atlantic Wind Connection President Markian Melnyk said about ocean planning at a regional meeting in New England, “”What it means for us is greater predictability, lower risk, lower cost. In our view, when you can identify the right places to do ocean energy, you can do everything better — you can do conservation better and can do energy development better. It doesn’t have to be a fight over siting; this type of collaborative siting work helps makes it more about science and more about sound economics than about fighting.”

With the help of collaboration, coordination and smart planning, renewable energy and better infrastructure may soon become a reality on the East Coast.

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