Beach Erosion Impacts on Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Nesting Along the South Texas Coast
Beach erosion is a potential threat to Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nesting populations because of a loss in nesting habitat that is critical to the survival of this endangered species. The Texas coast is experiencing beach erosion due to storms, tidal surges, overwash, and sea level rise induced by climate change. This project focuses on South Padre Island from the cut at Port Mansfield, TX to the Texas- Mexico border, south of Boca Chica. Kemp’s ridley nest GPS data from 2013-2017 is mapped with shoreline change rates to identify where areas of high risk of erosion occur and if these turtles are nesting in these areas. Using GIS, spatial analysis, and statistics, results show that Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are nesting in areas of high risk and very high risk. It is suggested that an interdisciplinary approach and continued monitoring of this species’ nesting is necessary for improving conservation efforts.
beach erosion, Lepidochelys kempii, conservation, Applied Geography
Wood, A. (2019). Beach erosion impacts on Kemp's Ridley sea turtle nesting along the south Texas coast. Master of Applied Geography Degree, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.