BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – For the first time in 75 years, sea turtles have been observed on Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands. The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) discovered hatchlings of the endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles in the Breton National Wildlife Refuge.

“Louisiana was largely written off as a nesting spot for sea turtles decades ago, but this determination demonstrates why barrier island restoration is so important,” said CRPA Chairman Chip Kline. “As we develop and implement projects statewide, we are always keeping in mind what’s needed to preserve our communities and enhance wildlife habitat. Having this knowledge now allows us to make sure these turtles and other wildlife return to our shores year after year.”

The discovery of nesting sea turtles will help shape future restoration plans for the island and ensure sea turtle nesting habitat is preserved and improved.

According to CPRA, more than 53 sea turtles crawls have been documented, and two live hatchings have been observed making their way to the water.

Additional nests may be discovered on the Chandeleur Islands as monitoring continues and hatchlings begin to emerge. The peak of sea turtles’ nesting season is June through July, with young hatching 50 to 60 days later.