Lora/Leatherback Sea Turtle Beach Maintenance Support Project
In 1959 in a beach side community in Costa Rica, hundreds of Olive Ridley (Lora) Sea Turtles began nesting on Playa Ostional, a volcanic beach. This monthly migration would soon become known as an Arribada. The beach was declared a National refuge in 1983 to protect the population of turtles that nest there monthly. In 1987, a program was introduced between a local development organization and the University of Costa Rica that allows the harvesting of turtle eggs during the first two days of an Arribada. This project brings in approximately $200,000 annually in the resale and distribution of the turtle eggs to the community. In return, the organization regulates the licensing, protection and conservation of the surviving baby turtles and invests annually to conservation and infrastructure projects. For example, they help clean and manage the beaches in order for the nesting turtles to have a comfortable and healthy environment. For 26 years, this initiative has increased the overall number of Olive Ridleys and is hailed as a premier example of cooperation between, private, public and environmental groups.
This project will support the local organization that is responsible for removing driftwood, trash and other debris on local beaches during Arribda. Specifically, this project will repair and construct two beach shelters that the organization uses for refuge during inclement weather. With new radios and repaired infrastructure, they will be more prepared in emergency situations.
The two storm shelters have been rebuilt, providing safe refuge for workers and community members during frequent lightning storms. With new radios, the workers can effectively communicate with each other, as well as dispatch to emergency responders if a problem were to arise.
"Maintaining our beaches is the most important thing to our community." - Rony, Project Leader