Sea Aggie Sea Turtle Patrol

The purpose of the Sea Aggie Sea Turtle Patrol is to monitor and protect nesting Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (and other sea turtle species) to assist in the recovery the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle population. The Sea Aggie Sea Turtle Patrol also responds to stranded sea turtles.

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Volunteer Resource Page

Patrol calendars, patrol route information, parking pass, liability forms and any other documentation and instructions needed can be found here.

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Rescue, Recovery, and Rehabilitation Programs

The Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research (GCSTR) at Texas A&M University at Galveston is the Federally permitted lead for sea turtle Rescue, Recovery, and Rehabilitation on the Upper and Middle Texas Coast. Since its creation in 2019, the GCSTR has rescued and responded to more than 500 turtles and treated nearly 300 sea turtles in the GCSTR rehabilitation hospital.

The GCSTR’s Rescue, Recovery, and Rehabilitation programs came after the creation of the Center in 2019 when NMFS/NOAA requested that the Center take the lead for these activities after the agency changed their priorities and stepped away from sea turtle work. A short-term hospital was outfitted on the Texas A&M University at Galveston Campus to fulfill this immediate need, with the intent on constructing a larger, modern facility that would better serve the long-term needs for the region. This includes quadrupling patient capacity to treat sea turtles during major cold stunning events (winter Storm Uri, 2021), accommodate loggerhead turtles during extreme stranding events (2022), and treating chemical spill and potentially oil-covered patients in our region. Currently, the GCSTR works with our national partners to receive and rehabilitate sea turtles from the Cape Cod area, and other areas in the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to Texas turtles. For the past three years, the Cape Cod region has been inundated with cold stunned sea turtles and have resorted to transporting these critical patients to rehabilitation hospitals in Florida and Texas, including the GCSTR’s sea turtle hospital. The new hospital will allow the GCSTR to rehabilitate a significantly greater number of sea turtles. These national partnerships raise the profile of Texas in terms of expertise in protecting valuable marine resources.

The GCSTR’s Rescue, Recovery, and Rehabilitation programs, while focused on immediate conservation needs, also facilitates research that addresses the data gaps required to restore sea turtle populations in the Upper Texas Coast, Texas Coast, and Gulf of Mexico. A major GCSTR research focus is to track sea turtle movements throughout Galveston Bay and coastal Texas using satellite and acoustic tags. This work allows state and Federal wildlife biologists to manage and conserve sea turtles in our area.

Sea turtle populations have been damaged and reduced to the point that all species are classified as Threatened, Endangered, or in the case of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, Critically Endangered. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the official State of Texas sea turtle, is the most Critically Endangered Sea Turtle in the world. The GCSTR’s goal is to mitigate that damage through Rescue, Recovery, Rehabilitation and their contribution to the Center In-water Research Program.

At its core the GCSTR’s sea turtle hospital is a teaching hospital and the Rescue, Recovery, and Rehabilitation programs provides critical training of the Texas workforce by teaching undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, veterinary students, and community volunteers all aspects of rehabilitation, wildlife health, but also conservation, restoration, and environmental resiliency.

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