Land conservation managers across the country are having to change how they do business, with climate change risks compounding existing threats to forests, wetlands, and coasts.
Consider an important nesting beach on Sawpit Island in the Nassau River near Jacksonville — a beach protected by the North Florida Land Trust. Sawpit is a state park because, among other things, its marshes support biodiversity and its beach is an important breeding habitat for diamondback terrapins. The turtles — with males reaching 5.5 inches and females 11 inches in length — rely on the island’s salt marshes for habitat. Like other sea turtles, they have “nesting fidelity,” meaning females return to the same beach year after year to lay eggs.
While other coastal beaches in Florida support about a dozen diamondback terrapin nests on average, the Sawpit Island spit of land is home to between 300 and 600 nests each spring.
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