UCF researchers, feds reach historic agreement securing permanent sea turtle research location

UCF to raise $5M to build new facilities at south Brevard wildlife refuge

MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. – The University of Central Florida announced Wednesday a first of its kind deal struck between school researchers and the USU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish a permanent conservation research facility along the Brevard County coastline.

UCF said researchers have worked with turtles in southern Brevard for 30 years, using faciilites at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.

The new agreement means UCF will build new labs and give biologists more control monitoring the No. 1 turtle nesting spot in North America.

"The Carr Refuge is one of the most important nesting beaches in the Western Hemisphere," said Kate Mansfield, director of the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group. "We see anywhere from 25 to 29,000 sea turtle nests in a 20 kilometer stretch of beach."

UCF plans to raise $5 million in the next five years to build new facilities.

A Fish and Wildlife officer said not only will the partnership help turtles on the beach, it's going to increase sea turtle populations globally and also help the troubled Indian River Lagoon.

"It's going to benefit not just sea turtles but all the species that use the lagoon and that people depend on," said Officer Anibal Vazquez, refuge director for the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. "It's really excellent news for Brevard County."

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