Broward County inmates help save endangered sea turtles
Armed with shovels, Broward Sheriff's Office inmate work crews will soon be digging in the sand for the benefit of endangered and threatened sea turtles.,Again this year, the Broward Sheriff's Office Department of Detention and Community Control is helping the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program by utilizing inmate work crews to restore sand from hatcheries in Pompano Beach and other locations in Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood. Removing old sand from beach nesting locations and replacing it with new sand helps eliminate existing bacteria that may contaminate future nests.,Broward Sheriff's Office inmate work crews are comprised of volunteers convicted of non-violent offenses who are near the end of their sentences. They regularly provide labor for publicly funded and non-profit organizations in the county. Typical community improvement projects for these inmates include road debris cleanup, painting, playground construction, and removal of overgrown vegetation.,It’s estimated that BSO’s inmate work units save Broward taxpayers more than $1.2 million dollars each year. The work done this year by BSO detainees would otherwise cost the Broward Sea Turtle Conservation Program nearly $4,500.00 according to the program’s manager.,Sea turtle nesting season in Broward begins with loggerhead turtles in early April, although the less predictable leatherback may begin nesting as early as February. At night, female turtles crawl up from the ocean, dig a hole in the sand and deposit dozens of eggs, then cover the eggs with sand and head back to the water. Nearly two months later, hatchlings emerge from the nests and crawl into the ocean. Some estimates indicate that only one in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood.,According to the Sea Turtle Conservation Program, the number of turtles has been drastically reduced for a number of reasons, including the over development of coastal areas and the killing of turtles for meat, leather, and their shells.
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