Balloons and turtles don’t mix

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
September 27, 2016 6:54 a.m.


Fernandina Beach Commissioner Len Kreger
Fernandina Beach Commissioner Len Kreger

Anyone who has spent any time at all chatting with Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Len Kreger knows that protecting turtles ranks high on his priority list. He has spent much time and effort, both in office and as a private citizen, working with like-minded activists to create a safe nesting habitat for loggerhead turtles on Amelia Island.

Kreger raised his latest turtle protection initiative—banning balloons from beaches –at the end of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) September 20, 2016 Regular Meeting. Citing the threat to turtles posed by balloons, Kreger provided a sample of signage and educational material prepared by the Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach, FL. Kreger suggested beginning with an educational program before proceeding to writing a city ordinance with an outright ban on balloons. Other commissioners supported this approach.


In a subsequent email, Kreger wrote: “I believe that a realistic goal is to implement [a balloon ban] sequentially starting with an education program coupled with installation of signage at our three beach parks, understanding that the program needs to be expanded to be effective.   We will strongly support expanding this ban and promulgating an ordinance, along with working the Nassau County for their consideration.

“We may also need support and assistance in the educational portion of the program.  I will be soliciting this support from individuals and organizations, including the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch, Wild Amelia, Amelia Island Earthkeepers, and the Sierra Club.”

Kreger provided this photo taken by Pat Leary showing balloon debris at the Fort Clinch pier beach.
Kreger provided this photo taken by Pat Leary showing balloon debris at the Fort Clinch pier beach.

Next month Kreger will visit the Loggerhead Marine Life Center for more information on establishing an effective program. He hopes to have a plan ready for FBCC review and comment by the end of October.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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