The National Park Service (NPS) posted an update on our management review of the Sea Turtle Science and Recovery Program at Padre Island National Seashore to focus on support for Kemp’s ridley sea turtles for future research, management and funding.
The National Park Service review – completed in June 2020 – underscores the importance of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle program at Padre Island and outlines goals to strengthen its mission, promote safety and expand opportunities for shared stewardship. Our goal through this process is to ensure accountability and transparency.
The review highlights the need for public involvement and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. That said, the National Park Service will be prioritizing a beach management plan to identify and evaluate the environmental consequences of beach patrol activities, nest management strategies, and other beach management alternatives.
Additionally, the National Park Service hired 37 seasonal staff members to support the program this summer. In Fiscal Year 2019, roughly 27 employees worked between 100 and 249 hours of overtime, eight employees worked 250 and 399 hours of overtime, and two employees recorded 433 hours and 569 hours of overtime. Sustaining this culture is not safe or sustainable for employees. Funds saved by reducing overtime allows the National Park Service to hire additional seasonal staff.
The sea turtle program constitutes nearly one quarter of the park’s base budget, which is nearly double the average for most NPS resource management programs. On average, the park secures roughly $500,000 to $800,000 in project funds each year to support sea turtle work, bringing the total program budget to $2.2 million annually. Recently, the National Park Service worked with federal and state partners to secure two, multi-year projects. We hope to share more information on those projects soon. The management review did not cut permanent funding to the program, but rather highlighted the need to promote shared stewardship among our partners.
We will continue to post updates on our website regarding upcoming projects as well as opportunities for public engagement. Additional information on the Padre Island Sea Turtle Science and Recovery program can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/pais/learn/seaturtles.htm
Read the review here.
Read a list of frequently asked questions here.
Last updated: May 17, 2021