Sea Turtles: Since 2019, 2020, and 2021, Marco has had the highest hatchling disorientation rate in the County. And 2022 is again trending high. Why? Disorientation is a consequence of artificial lights on the beach, distracting sea turtles away from the ocean towards the condos. A maximum penalty should apply for excellent education, consistent enforcement, and in the case of “irreparable damage” (death to hatchling/sea turtle).
Burrowing Owls: Burrowing Owls are protected by Federal, State, and Marco’s Listed Species Ordinance # 19-01. The biggest threat is habitat loss, vehicular strikes, and habitat destruction. For 2022, Owl Watch of Marco estimated losing at least 80-100 owl sites due to development. Continue to Fund the Starter Burrow Program; Increase Funding to Audubon of the Western Everglades for their Stewardship Program for the owls. Increase street signages & educational outreach to construction sites; enforce the speed limit and maximum penalty to repeat offenders, especially in the case of “irreparable damage (death of burrowing owls).
Gopher Tortoises are protected by Federal, State, and Marco’s Listed Species Ordinance. The biggest threats are habitat loss, vehicular strikes, and habitat destruction. Fully fund the completion of the gopher tortoise survey by Audubon. Develop a comprehensive stewardship management plan for burrowing owls and gopher tortoises.
2022 Candidate for Marco Island City Council