3 construction workers face charges for disturbing sea turtle nest on Marco Island

Three construction workers are accused of bothering a sea turtle nest while working on a boardwalk in Marco Island in June.

We spoke to beachgoers about how they felt about what the workers are accused of Wednesday.

March through October, seeing sea turtle nests blocked off on the beach is normal.

“And they have the red tape around, so they try to let people know, ‘Like this is a turtle nest don’t touch it,'” Emilie Beardall said.

Beardall says they are very well marked.

But June 5 reports show three workers from Imperial Marine Construction were caught doing some type of construction during nesting season.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says there’s no excuses to break the rules.

“If there is marking around a nest, no one should even touch those stakes,” said Dr. Robin Trindell, Ph.D., with FWC. “That can be a violation of the state statute that protects sea turtles as well as the federal Endangered Species Act.”

Although the workers did not touch the nest, Carlos Montanez, Juan Carcamo, and Adrian Ramirez are now all facing charges for violating coastal construction laws in place to protect wildlife.

“There are civil and criminal penalties for impacting a sea turtle nest or a sea turtle,” Trindell said.

While some say everyone has to follow the rules, others don’t think the sea turtles would have gone anywhere near where they were working.

“I think we should just stay out of the sea turtles’ way,” Beardall said.

We also spoke to a man who did not wish to share his full name for the interview. He doesn’t think the workers should be at fault, and he did not believe the turtles would be anywhere near where the workers were present.

Imperial Marine Construction says its workers were not supposed to be on the beach because it’s turtle nesting season. But the company also said its workers were not near a nest or a turtle.

One of the men will be back in court at the end of the month. The other two will face a judge next month.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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