MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Turkey Point nuclear power plant is making history thanks to the prolific crocodiles that make their home in the cooling channels surrounding the plant, about 25 miles south of Miami.
The 2021 American crocodile nesting season set a new record with 565 hatchlings. This is the highest number ever captured, processed, tagged and released in the history of FPL’s Turkey Point site.
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“This milestone for the Turkey Point American Crocodile Program is a testament to FPL’s environmental stewardship here in Miami-Dade County and in our service area,” said Kate MacGregor, FPL’s Vice President of Environmental Services. “The tireless work demonstrated at Turkey Point has resulted in a significant increase in the population of once-endangered American crocodiles.”
In 2021, efforts were made to encourage female crocodiles to return to their nesting sites by preparing previous nesting sites, thereby improving water quality.
It’s a strategy Turkey Point officials will pursue this year after seeing 27 successful nests in 2021, the second highest year on record behind 28 successful nests in 2008.
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FPL officials say Turkey Point Clean Energy Center’s cooling channel system provides optimal habitat for crocodiles and that its US Crocodile Management Program is contributing significantly to the species’ population growth.
the US Crocodile Management Program, in place for over 40 years, monitors nests, relocates hatchlings and helps create suitable habitat which has led to an increase in the crocodile population.
These conservation efforts were credited with helping the species move from an endangered species to a threatened species in 2007.
Turkey Point and its surroundings are one of only three major habitats for the American Crocodile in the United States. The other two are Everglades National Park and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Key Largo.
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