Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration Push to Slash Protections for Waterways, Wetlands

WASHINGTON— Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging two regulations that weaken Clean Water Act protections for rivers, streams, wetlands and other waterways, including a Trump administration decision to delay the 2015 Clean Water Rule for two years.

Today’s lawsuit also challenges portions of the 2015 rule that arbitrarily removed clean-water safeguards in place since the 1970s for certain types of critically important waterways. By defining the term “waters of the United States,” or what’s known as WOTUS, the 2015 rule prescribes what kinds of waterways and water bodies are protected under the Act.

The delay of the 2015 rule is the first of several anticipated actions from the Scott Pruitt-led Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13778, which called for slashing critical water-quality protections.

“It is obvious that EPA and the Corps are attempting to reduce or eliminate Clean Water Act protections for the majority of our nation’s waters in violation of our most basic procedural and environmental laws,” said Kelly Hunter Foster, a Waterkeeper Alliance senior attorney. “These agencies should be working to protect the public and restore our nation’s waters — not engaging in an elaborate multi-year plot to legalize more water pollution.”

Among the waters now facing destruction or increased harm from pollution are wetlands that provide vital habitat for hundreds of imperiled species. They include vernal pools in California, boggy “pocosins” important to water quality and flood control on the East Coast, and “prairie potholes” in the upper Midwest that help support about one-third of North America’s water birds, including the last migratory flock of whooping cranes in the world.

“Slashing protections for these crucial wetlands will accelerate the extinction of some our most vulnerable plants and animals,” said Hannah Connor, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Every day the Trump administration blocks these protections is another day polluters are free to degrade waterways essential to human health, imperiled species and endangered birds like whooping cranes.”

Today’s lawsuit was prompted by the failure of the EPA and Army Corps to comply with federal protections for a variety of waterways and wetlands under the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and Administrative Procedure Act.

“This is yet another gift by the Trump administration to big agribusiness operations, allowing more agricultural pollutants on our food and in our environment,” said Adam Keats, a senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “The EPA and the Army Corps should be working to strengthen, not gut, the laws that keep industrial agricultural pollution in check.”

These unprecedented actions by the EPA are contrary to clear scientific evidence demonstrating the importance of these waterways to public health, wildlife and environmental sustainability.

“Deregulation kills! The Trump administration’s newest attack on clean water threatens human health and wildlife survival, especially species like the critically endangered coho salmon, which spawns in local creeks and streams,” said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “These are the same creeks and streams where our children play and learn about nature, and to allow them to be polluted is absolutely shameful.”

The parties to the suit are the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Waterkeeper Alliance, Humboldt Baykeeper (a program of the Northcoast Environmental Center), Russian Riverkeeper, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, Snake River Waterkeeper and Monterey Coastkeeper (a program of the Otter Project).

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by the Earthrise Law Center, the environmental legal clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School.

California Vernal Pool by Joanna Gilkeson, USFWS
California Vernal Pool by Joanna Gilkeson, USFWS

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. www.biologicadiversity.org

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates around the world, focusing citizen action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. The Waterkeeper movement patrols and protects over 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes, and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. For more information please visit waterkeeper.org.

Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote everybody’s right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 950,000 advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood, @CFS_Press

Turtle Island Restoration Network is a leading advocate for the world’s oceans and marine wildlife whose mission is to inspire and mobilize people around the world to protect marine biodiversity and the oceans that sustain all life on Earth.

Contact:

Kelly Hunter Foster, Waterkeeper Alliance, (212) 747-0622 x 160, kfoster@waterkeeper.org
Hannah Connor, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 681-1676, hconnor@biologicaldiversity.org
Adam Keats, Center for Food Safety, (415) 826-2770, akeats@centerforfoodsafety.org
Todd Steiner, Turtle Island Restoration Network, (415) 488-7652, tsteiner@seaturtles.org

Balloon’s Blow. Don’t Let Them Go!

As of June 6, 2018 the Texas coast has identified 220 Kemp’s ridley nests and just over 8,200 nests have been detected in Mexico. We are in prime time for our nesting season, so we hope to meet or exceed the 353 nests found on the TX coast in 2017.

On May 1, a critically endangered sub-adult Kemp’s ridley was discovered in the surf on the west end of Galveston with her flipper entangled in a shoestring attached to a trash can. And on May 3, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle washed up on the Texas coast entangled in balloon strings.

When balloons are released, they blow away, pop or deflate, and fall back to the Earth, usually in the ocean, as marine debris. Marine debris traps, entangles, suffocates and kills thousands of marine organisms every year.

Fortunately both sea turtles were reported to the 866-TURTLE-5 hotline, and they are recovering in the NMFS rehabilitation facility in Galveston.

Read our 10 Ways To Keep Plastic Out of the Ocean!

Marine Debris Cleanups: Every Piece Counts!

There’s a beautiful bay on Maui’s northeastern facing shore called “Ka’ehu”, where endangered species are spotted and Hawaiian practitioners can still connect with their past. Unfortunately, an endless supply of marine debris washes ashore here, scarring the beachscape. Some of these items have come from human littering right down the coast, the ‘Iao Stream outflow that’s just to the south of Ka’ehu, neighbor Hawaiian islands, elsewhere in the vast Pacific Ocean, or even from the other ocean basins since everything is connected.

During our 4th Sunday of every month Ka’ehu Cleanups, we tackle the trash with a group of dedicated volunteers from around the world and locally who gain their good karma points, oxytocin, vitamin D, and exercise from learning about this special place, picking up the marine debris and carrying it back to our sorting tent.  There, our most experienced volunteers lead the process of identifying and subsequently counting each and every item. Everything from household items (like toothbrushes) to single use items (like straws) to fishing-related items (like net bundles) go into a different bucket, bin or pile corresponding to the detailed categories on our data sheet.  This is a very time-consuming process, but the data output provides us with a snapshot of what’s floating around in our oceans, which is rather shocking and fascinating all at the same time.

Marine Debris - Kaehu Cleanups

To avoid getting super depressed with the amount of debris that washes ashore as if we didn’t just do a cleanup the month before, we have to look at it like a treasure hunt- we never know what we’ll find!  

More specific information will be shared in future reports, but the broad categories since Turtle Island Restoration Network became a supporting partner in this project in October 2017 are shown in the graphics below.  It’s no surprise that plastics continue to be the biggest offender, but the amounts of polystyrene foam (aka “styrofoam”, which is technically a form of plastic) are also staggering. Maui County’s laws prohibiting the sale and use of polystyrene foam take out containers (in which we used our data to show the extent of the issue during the hearings) goes into effect December 31, 2018.  So, we’re counting on seeing an eventual decrease of these items.

KaehuTIRNcleanupsThruMay2018

Even with our other cleanup and conservation activities, cleaning and researching Ka’ehu once a month may not be exactly what saves the planet…  So, why bother? Since the beginning of this Ka’ehu Cleanup project led by SHARKastics.org in July 2012 and fueled by hundreds of volunteers, we’ve removed 314,588 items that could’ve been deadly ingestion and/or entanglement hazards to animals of all sizes.  This is why we must continue these cleanup efforts.

Participants leave each cleanup with a deeper understanding of this ocean pollution problem, and their actions based on this new awareness has a ripple effect that will certainly be beneficial to solving this international concern.  We are pleased to know that we’ve been a small part of the anti-marine debris movement that continues to grow globally every day with the help of social media and films such as Chris Jordan’s “Albatross”. Please join us!

Reps. Lieu and Fitzpatrick Roll Out Bipartisan Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act

Find original press release here.

WASHINGTON – TodayCongressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), both Members of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, rolled out the bipartisan Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, which would phase out the use of large mesh drift gillnets off the coast of California and set a path toward more sustainable fishing in the region. The measure is the House companion to S.2773, which was introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). This week is Capitol Hill Ocean Week, which brings together leaders in marine policy to discuss critical issues impacting oceans and Great Lakes.

Upon introduction, Rep. Lieu said:

“The practice of drift gillnet fishing is an antiquated method of catching swordfish and sharks. Washington and Oregon already prohibit the use of large mesh drift gillnets because they are harmful to local ecosystems. It is past time to ensure that our precious marine wildlife is adequately protected by phasing out this inhumane, destructive, and wasteful practice.”

Additional Background:

Currently, the use of gillnets with a total length of two and one-half kilometers or more is prohibited in U.S. waters. The drift gillnet fishing gear being utilized off the coast of California can be up to or more than a mile long in length, and is designed to catch swordfish and thresher sharks. However, due to its large mesh size, many marine species—including some ESA-listed species—can also become entangled in the mesh nets as a result of bycatch. Many animals are injured or killed in the process.

This bill is supported by Oceana, Pew Charitable Trusts, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, American Sportfishing Association.

Support for H.R. 5638:

Turtle Island Restoration Network:

“Driftnets meant for swordfish and thresher sharks off the coast of California are actually harming and killing more than 70 different species of ocean wildlife,” said Cassie Burdyshaw, advocacy and policy director with Turtle Island Restoration Network. “H.R. 5638, introduced by Congressman Ted Lieu and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, brings us one step closer to phasing out antiquated and unsustainable driftnets.”

Oceana:

“Targeting swordfish with drift gillnets is an indiscriminate and highly destructive way to fish,” said Oceana’s deputy vice president of the Pacific, Susan Murray. “This fishery tosses overboard more marine life than it keeps. With cleaner, more selective fishing gears available, there is no reason to continue using antiquated methods that inflict unnecessary harm to ocean wildlife.”

Humane Society Legislative Fund:

“We applaud Reps. Ted Lieu and Brian Fitzpatrick for introducing legislation to protect dolphins and whales in their natural habitats,” stated Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “Each year, the fishing industry’s drift gillnets ensnare and drown countless majestic creatures.  H.R. 5638 promises to reduce these horrible and indiscriminate deaths along one of the longest state coastlines in the nation.”

Pew Charitable Trusts:

“I hope that this commonsense and bipartisan bill passes, and provides the momentum needed to end the use of drift gillnets,” said Paul Shively, project director of Pacific Ocean conservation for the Pew Charitable Trusts. “It’s the best way of preserving the viable commercial swordfishing industry without unnecessary harm to the marine wildlife that is integral to a healthy Pacific Ocean ecosystem.”

Friends of the Earth:

“The use of driftnets is wholly unsustainable and a federal ban on this method of fishing is a long time coming,” said Marcie Keever, Director of the Oceans and Vessels Program at Friends of the Earth. “These massive nets catch and kill an unforgivable amount of marine life and are so cruel that only a single California fishery currently utilizes them. With so many other types of sustainable fishing methods available, driftnets must become a thing of the past.”

 American Sportfishing Association:

“The nation’s recreational fishing community is comprised of millions of individuals and thousands of businesses with a deep passion for aquatic resource conservation. As such, the American Sportfishing Association strongly supports H.R. 5638, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, which will end the use of highly destructive large-mesh drift gillnets. In California, this gear is responsible for unacceptably high levels of bycatch, including of sportfish, sharks and marine mammals, and we commend Rep. Lieu for leading this effort to improve the health and sustainability of California’s marine resources.” 

5 Tips for Effective Advocacy

Last week, concerned citizens, environmentalists, sport fishermen, and seafood lovers celebrated a 33-0 victory as SB 1017 made it through the California Senate. The bill would phase out the state’s drift gillnet fishery by 2023 through a buyout of existing harmful gear.

Despite almost 40 years of management and clean up efforts, the California drift gillnet fishery remains incredibly wasteful and devastating to ocean wildlife. Alarmingly, 2/3 animals caught in these mile-wide nets are tossed back overboard dead or dying, making it one of the worst fisheries worldwide. That’s why, for as long as this fishery has been around, people have been trying to get rid of it. The more we see and learn, the clearer it is that we must act now, before it’s too late.

With its landmark victory in the Senate, SB 1017 made history! This is the farthest that a bill like this has ever gone towards becoming law, with previous attempts dying in committee (at best). It’s a testament to why advocacy works.

Advocacy works. Here’s why:

Advocacy is a show of public support for a policy or cause. In our case, it’s actually a combination of many various displays of support for ocean-friendly policies. We never know what will tip the scales in favor or against our causes, which is why it’s important for everyone who’s invested to make their voices heard in every way they can. Together, we are strong, united in our diversity, and a force to be reckoned with. In this campaign, we utilized many forms of speaking out, informing, lobbying, and advocating.

Here are our 5 favorite advocacy techniques and why they work:

1. Lobbying and speaking up!Rally to End Driftnets in Sacramento. Advocacy works!

We and concerned ocean lovers rallied at the California State Capitol, visited Senators’ and Assembly Members’ offices, wrote letters/postcards/emails, called in, and testified in person in favor of SB 1017. Our representatives urge us to keep speaking up and speaking out; it’s only through this outreach that they can know how much this matters to their constituents. Each voice matters, and yours might be the one that changes a vote

2. Building coalitions.Turtle Island Restoration Network, SeaLegacy, and Sharkwater team photo. Advocacy works.

Building coalitions. Coalitions bring together people who may seem like unlikely allies (like sport fishermen and animal rights activists). They bring us together to fight a common enemy — in this case, drift gillnets. Turtle Island Restoration Network joined forces with Mercy for Animals, Sea Legacy, and Team Sharkwater as the Coalition to End Deathnets. Together, we released undercover footage of the secret slaughter happening on California’s drift gillnet boats. By uniting together, the coalition mobilized 100,000s together to spread the word, inform millions, and increase our impact.

3. Digital Campaigning

 

Many businesses signed our coalition letter against drift gillnets, voicing their unequivocal support for the bill. These included sustainable seafood chefs, recreational sport fishermen, scuba divers, and ocean-loving kids who want to ensure that whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks won’t go extinct in their lifetimes. Each business shared stories about why they love the ocean, why they oppose drift gillnets, and what they think we collectively should do. When we share their stories in their words, other businesses in their communities join the cause, too.

4. Boycotting

Consumer action is a powerful motivator of change. We hosted swordfish boycotts at restaurants, seafood suppliers, and grocery stores across California. We protested sourcing swordfish caught using drift gillnets and longlines and marketing that to clients as “sustainable.” Several businesses changed their policies in light of boycott pressures, finding ways to stay profitable without selling the offending swordfish.

5. Investigating and educating.

People save what they love. They love what they know. By showing people the beauty of our seas and also the devastating effect drift gillnets have on our ocean ecosystems, we simultaneously help people connect to our oceans and become invested in their protection. We take every opportunity to talk to people about why eating swordfish is connected to killing sea turtles, and how better ways to fish already exist.

So, what’s next?

The bill moves to the California State Assembly, where it will face 2 committees and a floor vote. We’re pulling out all the stops in lobbying, sharing, and speaking out. Advocacy works if we all get involved to do our part! We’ve got to tell our stories and share our love of the ocean. It’s only through this love that others will realize their own connections to the ocean, and work to save it. Together, we can make SB 1017 law and take a firm, critical step towards protecting our oceans for the future.

Follow #BanDeathNets on Twitter and visit our Action Center to take a stand!

Recovering a Lost Floodplain

The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) will soon undertake its most ambitious habitat restoration project in order to ensure coho salmon remain part of our ecosystem for generations to come.

The Lagunitas Creek Floodplain and Riparian Restoration Project is an effort to restore a one mile-long stretch of river habitat within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The project builds upon Turtle Island Restoration Network’s (our parent organization) partnership with Point Reyes National Seashore to restore the once wild and dynamic alluvial valley of Lagunitas Creek. We’re embarking on the restoration to recover a lost floodplain that has been buried under 20 feet of dirt dumped in the river corridor decades ago to build the villages of Tocaloma and Jewel.

The National Park Service begins demolition on the former villages of Tocaloma and Jewel.

The National Park Service demolished the abandoned structures in 2016 to make room for the habitat restoration planned for Summer 2018.

The restoration will re-create the large dynamic floodplain with side channels, alcoves, and numerous large woody debris structures- all elements that coho salmon critically need. These habitats will create slow off-channel areas that are commonly seen in undeveloped pristine waterways that provide feeding and rearing grounds for fish and other wildlife including California freshwater shrimp and California red-legged frog.

“This is one of the largest projects undertaken in the watershed,” said Preston Brown, director of watershed conservation. “Our goal is to restore the natural functions, letting the stream behave how it wants to, not only to benefit salmon but the entire ecosystem that relies on the dynamic nature of the creek,” he added.

Following the removal of numerous abandoned and dilapidated structures of the former villages, we began work completing engineering designs, permitting, and environmental compliance. The planning is complete and we will begin earthwork this August 2018. This restoration will provide immediate habitat for endangered wildlife and will provide vital services to improve water quality and flood control.

SPAWN has secured funding for the project from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board through competitive grants. Matching funds have been provided by generous donations from SPAWN members and supporters. We are looking forward to engaging volunteers and members to help us in the process. Currently we’re collecting seeds and raising plants for the restoration and will begin planting this November.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jack Sherwood

This month, we’re highlighting Jack Sherwood for our volunteer spotlight!

Jack has been volunteering with our Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) native plant nursery for eight months. He moved to California from New Jersey three and a half years ago and has worked in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. In addition to being a dedicated SPAWN volunteer, Jack was kind enough to bring food from Jannah, a delicious Middle Eastern restaurant in San Francisco, for staff and nursery volunteers at a recent volunteer party!

What do you enjoy about volunteering here?
Jack: I like being outdoors, I have a lot of time, and I like learning about wildlife and native plants. It’s the perfect combination really! I enjoy the community of people and I feel that I’m giving something back to Marin county. I also enjoy having the opportunity and resources to learn, there are friendly people here who are willing to share their knowledge with you.

Have you always had an interest in native plants?
Jack: I’ve always had an interest in outdoor activities, and though I could identify animals, I never knew how to identify plants. But, when I moved out here to California, I became interested in Native Americans and the plants they used for food and medicinal purposes. I never realised how important native plants are until I moved, and volunteering with the nursery has helped enhance my understanding of how important native plants and animals are, not just for the environment, but for the community as well.

You’re interested in the history of Native Americans, what do you think they can teach us about restoration?
Jack: I always try to look at the big picture of preserving the outside, that’s why I would like to see the county do controlled burns, to bring back the native plants. I think what we need is a macro rather than a micro game-plan for the county and a large part of it would be going back to what Native Americans practiced through controlled burns. In Sonoma County people are so surprised that the native plants are coming back after the fires, but fire helps the large trees. It cuts out the underbrush and it brings back the native plants.

Would you encourage others to come volunteer?
Jack: I would, definitely. There are 260,000 people living in Marin and everyone has an investment in the county’s future. So many people who live here love animals, plants, and being outdoors but they just don’t know about this opportunity volunteer. People are often surprised that I volunteer, it’s so foreign to some people, but I think volunteering should be part of everybody’s life. It helps not just to heal the environment, but it helps heal yourself.

Thank you for volunteering your time with us, Jack! And thank you to Jannah for providing us with an amazing catered lunch!

Live in the Bay Area and want to volunteer with us? Email Audrey Fusco at audrey@spawnusa.org.

What’s Blooming in the Nursery?

Summer is almost here, and the nursery is in full bloom! We’re enjoying watching the flowers open on our plants, from the most obvious blossoms on spring flowering perennials to the most inconspicuous – grasses have flowers too. Read about some of our locally native plants below, and drop by our nursery if you want to learn more.

Sticky Monkeyflower
Sticky Monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus)

Sticky monkeyflower, with it’s golden-orange blooms, is a common sight in late spring along hillsides in Marin County. This flower does best in part-shade inland and full sun along the coast, and requires good drainage. It attracts native bees and hummingbirds as pollinators.

Seep Monkeyflower
Seep Monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata)

Seep monkeyflower, as its name implies, typically grows in seep areas and is often found growing alongside perennial creeks. It’s main requirement is moist soil, and it does well in full sun. This plant is also pollinated by bees and hummingbirds, and is deer resistant. Young leaves are edible and can be added to salads.

Columbine
Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa)

Western columbine thrives in almost every ecosystem type in Marin, including mixed evergreen forest, redwood forest, and Oak woodlands. It needs well-draining soils and partial shade. The flower attracts hummingbirds, but it is mainly pollinated by Sphinx moths.

Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia calycina)
Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia calycina)

Pitcher sage is not a true sage, but is part of the mint family. The common name comes from the sage-like smell of the leaves. This flowering shrub can be found in Oak woodland and chaparral plant communities, and does well near perennial streams. It is pollinated by hummingbirds.

Woodrose
Woodrose (Rosa gymnocarpa)

California woodrose is a beautiful native shrub that is commonly found in woodlands in Marin. This plant does best in partial shade and likes well-drained soil, but it can also be found growing in full sun. It is tolerant of a diverse array of soils including clay and serpentine. The rosehips stay on the plant through the fall and early winter, providing food to many species of birds and small mammals.

Meadow Barley
Meadow Barley (Hordeum brachyantherum)

Meadow barley is a cool-season perennial bunchgrass that is native from California to the Rocky Mountains. The grass grows from two to four feet tall and has an upright, slender form. It is most easily identified by the soft yet bristly purplish flower heads. It is most commonly found in moist meadows and riparian areas. This grass tolerates a wide variety of soil types, grows and spreads quickly, and is competitive against invasive grasses. It
is considered valuable food for deer during spring and provides cover and habitat for many wildlife species.

In addition to perennials, shrubs, and grasses, sedges and rushes are in bloom right now too! Stay tuned as we continue to follow the blooms in the nursery throughout the summer.

 

 

Leatherback Biologist Joins Turtle Island Restoration Network

Turtle Island Restoration Network is pleased to announce that Callie Veelenturf, a marine biologist, will be the organization’s first Leatherback Fellow.

“Our goal is to work towards reversing the extinction trajectory that East Pacific leatherback sea turtles now face in the region as a result of anthropogenic pressures that include climate change, capture in fishing gear, and destruction of nesting habitat,” said Callie Veelenturf.

To accomplish her mission, Veelenturf will conduct interviews, review scientific literature, conduct research, give workshops, provide technical assistance, and develop a comprehensive plan to financially assist local conservation initiatives throughout Latin America.

“Hundreds of conservationists throughout the region are working to protect their local nesting sites, but often lack the resources and sometimes the technical knowledge needed to accomplish their conservation goals,” said Veelenturf. “I hope to invest my knowledge and target the resources available to Turtle Island Restoration Network to help turn the tide for this magnificent species.”

Callie Leatherback Nest

Photo: Callie excavates a leatherback sea turtle nest on Bioko Island Equatorial Guinea. Only about 10% of the eggs hatched in this nest. She organizes the remaining eggs in order to evaluate all of the embryos to determine the stage to which they developed before perishing.

Veelenturf has studied and worked to protect leatherback sea turtles on several projects in 3 different countries. She received her Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island and her Masters of Science in Biology from Purdue University.

At Purdue, she studied the impacts of climate change on sea turtle hatching success and nesting beaches on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea and worked on the East Pacific’s most important leatherback nesting site in Costa Rica. She was recently featured in Nature magazine as the overall winner of their Scientists At Work photo competition for a photo of her work in West Africa.

Even before arriving at her first day of work with Turtle Island Restoration Network in April, Callie generated research and monitoring protocols for a developing sea turtle conservation program in Ecuador in an effort to increase hatching success for the nests that were laid there this past nesting season. She will continue to provide support on Ecuador’s nesting beaches to increase the nest survivorship of this critically endangered subpopulation.

Welcome Callie!