MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Turkey Point nuclear power plant is making history thanks to the prolific crocodiles who make their home in the cooling canals surrounding the plant, about 25 miles south of Miami.
The 2021 American crocodile nesting season set a new record with 565 hatchlings. It’s the most ever caught, processed, tagged, and released in the history of FPL’s Turkey Point site.
“This milestone for Turkey Point’s 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 vice president of environmental services. “The tireless work demonstrated at Turkey Point has resulted in a significant increase of the once-endangered American crocodile population.”
In 2021, efforts were made to encourage female crocodiles to return to their nesting sites by preparing previous nesting locations, improving water quality.
It’s a strategy that the officials at Turkey Point will continue this year after seeing 27 successful nests in 2021, the second-highest year on record behind 28 successful nests in 2008.
FPL officials say the Turkey Point Clean Energy Center’s cooling canal system provides an optimal habitat for the crocs and its American crocodile management program is a significant contributor to the growing population of the species.
The American crocodile management program, in pLace for more than 40 years, monitors nests, relocates hatchlings, and helps create an appropriate habitat which have resulted in an increase in the crocodile population.
These conservation efforts have been credited for helping the species rebound from an endangered species to a threatened species in 2007.
Turkey Point and the surrounding areas is one of only three major habitats for the American Crocodile in the U.S. The other two are Everglades National Park and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Key Largo.