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It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle because the number of nests found so far this season is approaching record territory. As of Tuesday, staff at Sea Turtle Inc. (STI) had reported finding 68 Kemp’s ridley nests and one loggerhead nest. That’s just one Kemp’s ridley nest shy of the record of 69 nests, which was set in 2012. That year, a total of 72 sea turtle nests were found, including one loggerhead and two green sea turtle nests.
In all, over 6,500 eggs have been collected and placed in the safety of a corral watched over around the clock by vigilant STI staff and volunteers. According to information released by STI, the first nest — containing 79 eggs — was found by a Cameron County worker between Beach Accesses 5 and 6 on April 22. Since then, it’s been a steady stream of nests found by STI staff and volunteers, County employees, and even tourists.
Jean McClane, 72, said she is going to be walking hard at this weekend’s 33rd Annual Longest Causeway Run and Fitness Walk.
She is interested in the $500 prize for the first female who completes the walk.
Last year, she was sidelined from participating in the annual Longest Causeway Run and Fitness Walk because of back surgery.
“You can’t walk across or ride a bike any other time,” McClane said. “It’s fun if it’s a nice day.”
And she said she was not going to miss this year’s event.
She will be walking across the bridge with her husband.
“I hope we can see the dolphins once in a while while we walk,” McClane said. “This is a great place to come.”
McClane, who is from Shipshewana, Ind., said a friend introduced her and her husband to the event and they have tried to participate each year ever since.
“We have done the walk and run five times,” McClane said. “It’s fun and it helps support the local businesses.”
The 33rd Annual Longest Causeway Run and Fitness Walk is scheduled for Saturday.
The event, produced by the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, is an annual event beginning in Port Isabel and ending at Louie’s Backyard on the South Padre Island.
It brings more than 4,000 participants to the Island.
“It’s just a rare opportunity for people to cross the bridge on foot,” said Betty Wells, Port Isabel Chamber president. “That is what makes the event so unique.”
Wells said runners and walkers from 37 states and three countries have registered.
“We expect to attract more than 3,000 participants,” Wells said. “We have some elite runners who participate and usually make it through the 10K run in a little over 30 minutes.”
The runners start at the Port Isabel community center. Walkers will end their trek at the Padre Balli statue and the runners will continue their run to Louie’s Backyard.
“Our oldest runner is somewhere in their mid to late 80s,” Wells said. “A lot of families do it together and it wouldn’t be unusual to see children in strollers.”
She said the event is very important because it is designed to attract people to the area during off-season time.
“Economically it is very important. It has been so popular that we have added a June run and fitness walk,” Wells said. “We do cash prizes for the top three men and women participants.”
The South Padre Island Police Department along with other city departments will implement a traffic plan to manage personnel and equipment placed in areas to enhance the flow of traffic and control the run and walking route.
By RAUL GARCIA Staff writer
Construction is scheduled to begin this week on State Highway 100 as the Texas Department of Transportation will start to install wildlife corridors in the area. Officials said four wildlife corridors will be installed on Highway 100 between Share 27 Road and Palm Boulevard or Laguna Vista and Los Fresnos. The project will begin Tuesday and is expected to take 16 months, which puts its finishing date in November 2017. The project is made possible through a $5 million TxDOT grant. The corridors will be distributed every half-mile.
There has been a push to install wildlife corridors along Highway 100 to protect the endangered ocelots following their deaths in the past year. One death occurred on Highway 100, another on Buena Vista Road and still another on FM 2925 west of Arroyo City. They are said to have been killed by vehicular traffic.
By LAURA B. MARTINEZ Staff Writer