Florida Sea Grant, UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County has recently partnered with the Loggerhead Marine Life Center to expand the Responsible Pier Initiative to Hernando County. Since its launch in 2013, the program has aided in the rescue of over 300 turtles and the removal of over 4,000 pound of marine debris. Over 53 piers spanning from Texas to Virginia, including Puerto Rico, have joined this program.
On Thursday, September 21st, 2017, a workshop was held at the UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County Office where a group of First Responders were trained by Demi Fox and Brittany Hall-Scharf to properly assist with the rescue of sea turtles. Immediately following the training, responders assisted with the installation of sea turtle rescue signage and monofilament tubes at the Bayport Park boat ramp, Jenkins Creek fishing pier, and Linda Pedersen Park. Additional installation of sea turtle signage and monofilament tubes are scheduled for the end of October.
The signage was installed to assist the general public with the rescue of sea turtles if an entanglement does occur; First Responders will also be available, if needed, throughout the coastal community. Monofilament tubes will be maintained by local citizen scientists and the contents will be recycled.