GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – The non-profit Caribbean Conservation Corporation announced the recipients who will receive a total of over $270,000 in funding from the 2006-2007 Sea Turtle Grants Program. Funded by a portion of revenues from Florida’s Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate, the Sea Turtle Grants Program, administered by CCC, distributes funds each year to support sea turtle research, conservation and education Programs throughout Florida.
In 1997, thanks to the efforts of CCC and other Florida sea turtle groups, the Florida Legislature authorized the creation of a Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate to provide a permanent funding source for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWCC) Marine Turtle Program and to promote the conservation and protection of Florida’s sea turtles. The Sea Turtle License Plate was first offered for sale in February 1998 and quickly became one of the most popular specialty plates in Florida, raising over $1 million annually. At just $17.50 per tag, the turtle plate is also one of the least expensive specialty plates in Florida.
“Over 90% of all the sea turtle nesting in the United States takes place in Florida,” said CCC Executive Director David Godfrey. “We established the tag to provide a permanent funding source for turtle research and protection Programs being conducted by State biologists and the many independent turtle protection groups working in Florida. By purchasing an official Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate, citizens can directly support sea turtle conservation.”
All of the funding generated by the tag is required by law to support sea turtle protection in Florida. Seventy-percent of the funding goes to FWCC’s Marine Turtle Program to support research and management activities related to sea turtles. The remaining 30% of revenue is distributed by CCC through the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program has awarded over $1.42 million in grants for research, education and rehabilitation projects across Florida since 2001.
Coinciding with the sea turtle nesting season, CCC will award 17 grants totaling $273,892.25. Projects chosen for funding were recently selected by the Grant Selection Committee. The largest grant ($40,951) was awarded to the Non-Profit Inwater Research Group for research into the habitat use and migration of an age class of endangered green turtles that have been recently found in the Marquesas Keys of Florida. The smallest grant ($1,681.60) went to the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management to expand their sea turtle Program. For a complete list please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.