WALMART CONTRIBUTES TO SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AT CANAVERAL NATIONAL SEASHORENEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - During the 2010 nesting season, more than 5,500 nests of loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles were deposited along Canaveral National Seashore's 24 miles of coastline. To help protect these nests, Walmart, through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), granted the Seashore $80,000 for sea turtle nest protection and habitat restoration.
The grant has already been put to good use. Over three-quarter miles of dune fencing have been installed along an eroding portion of the barrier island in order to stabilize the beach. Supplies have been purchased to place protective screens over 2,500 nests to deter predators, such as the raccoon, from digging up the eggs.
In the next two months, one and a quarter miles of fencing will be completed.
In early spring, Walmart and the Seashore plan to hold a volunteer day to prepare nest protection supplies for the 2011 season. This will include cutting protective screens, painting nest marking stakes and bending rebar anchors for the screens. Participants will also learn about sea turtles and the nest protection program at the seashore.
Canaveral National Seashore, situated on a barrier island along Florida's east coast, is an important sea turtle nesting beach. The beach at the Seashore is the longest extent of undeveloped coastline along the Florida Atlantic coast.
The Walmart gift is part of the Acres for America program, a partnership between NFWF and Walmart established in 2004. The 10-year, $35 million commitment aims to permanently protect critical wildlife habitat and simultaneously offset the footprint of Walmart's domestic facilities by preserving one acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land developed by the company. To date, the program has protected more than 625,000 acres in 15 states - far exceeding the program's original 10-year goal of 138,000 acres.
"Walmart's partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has always focused on protecting important wildlife species and their habitats for future generations," said Joaquin Gonzalez Varela, Divisional Senior Vice President for Walmart. "The work of groups like the Canaveral National Seashore to offer protection and care for the animals most in need aligns perfectly with the Acres for America mission."