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Kemp’s Ridley NRDA Assessment

Fact Sheet

Deepwater Horizon Kemp’s Ridley Injury Assessment Work Plan To Determine Potential Exposure and Injuries of Nesting Kemp’s Ridley Turtles and Their Nests

Background

The Kemp’s Ridley Injury Assessment Work Plan is being conducted to obtain data for the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment (DWH NRDA). This work will support the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees in their efforts to determine potential exposure and injuries of nesting Kemp’s ridley turtles and their nests. The data will be used to determine damages owed by the responsible parties, including BP.

The Kemp’s Ridley Injury Assessment Work Plan is an adjunct to ongoing efforts conducted on behalf of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at the Padre Island National Seashore. Thus, the DWH NRDA assessment work constitutes a subset of the overall Kemp’s ridley monitoring program and includes collection of data that supplement the typical assessment completed annually.

Two years (2010 and 2011) of this NRDA assessment of injury due to potential exposure to MC 252 oil have been completed. This (2012) is the third year of assessment.

Comparison of post-spill data to pre-spill baseline data (i.e., pre-spill) is very important. National Park Service Padre Island National Seashore has been home to a successful nesting colony of Kemp’s ridley for years.  Information on Kemp’s ridley nesting success and habitat utilization collected prior to this 2010 spill provides valuable baseline for this sea turtle species.

Potential Injury

Potential injury to Gulf coast Kemp’s ridley sea turtles due to Deepwater Horizon oil may range from mortality to sub-lethal stress and chronic impairment, including deleterious effects on reproduction and recruitment.

Sea turtles can be exposed to chemicals in oil in several ways:

In addition to chemical exposure, response activities such as collecting and burning oil at sea, skimmer operations, boom deployment, berm construction, increased light at night on or near nesting beaches, equipment use and storage as a result of beach cleanup operations and boat traffic could directly injure sea turtles, block access to turtle nesting beaches and/or cause behavioral changes.

Assessment Activity

The Padre Island National Seashore staff will:

US Geological Survey researchers will perform analysis on samples for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and fingerprinting for MC252 oil.


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