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Newsletter No. 82 ~ December, 2007 & January, 2008
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Hola Volunteers, Friends, and Supporters ~

It is February and the last three nests (see photo below) are taking forever to hatch. I cannot remember being this anxious to see a nesting season end. This newsletter was to go out the day the last hatchlings were released, but I cannot wait any longer. It has been a successful nesting season, although a very long and exhausting one. The work goes on. There are directories and T-shirts to be sold, a nursery to be rebuilt, a dune buggy to overhaul and paint, and all before the beginning of the coming nesting season in June.

The final count stands at 66,600 hatchlings released, 656 nests incubated in the nursery, 190 nests relocated to healthier/protected areas along several beaches and, regrettably, 56 nests taken illegally. The grand total stands at 902 nests for the season. That's 276 nests over last season's total of 726. Our hatchlings from past seasons are now coming home.

Despite a successful season, the last 32 nests, collected after mid-November, produced about 1,550 hatchlings, for a 53.2% hatching rate (normal is 87%). After paying the electrical bill for heating the nursery throughout December and January, the cost for the lucky 25 (projected) hatchlings that will live to return home in eleven years comes to roughly $7.50 each. It was well worth the expense, especially for the hundreds of people who watched their releases. If these nests had been left on the beach they would have produced only a handful of hatchlings.

Work on the dune buggy is well underway. Rust removal and painting is about finished, leaving only the repair of the fenders and the replacement of the front-end suspension/trail arms, which could be a major problem if we cannot find parts. A new type of gas pedal has been installed ending the long-standing problem of a sticky gas pedal.

I was returning nest-box sand to the beach when a law enforcement officer on a Honda quad-runner pulled up beside me. What a new concept! Now, if only they would do this at night when there are poachers on the beach! He told me that vehicles are no longer allowed on the beach, I agreed with his request. Although, I reminded him that the dune buggy was the only vehicle authorized by Profepa to be on the beach, especially between June through December when turtles are nesting. To keep things simple, I agreed to keep the buggy off the beach until next June.

The ongoing task of finding housing for our volunteers has been resolved, at least for this coming season. Aside from renting a house across the street from the nursery this June, in mid-February, we plan to begin construction of a second story on the volunteer house at the nursery. Both houses should accommodate at least 10-12 volunteers. Although by the end of November, as the last volunteers leave, we must find renters for one of these houses for six months. If you know of anyone looking for a good rental at a reasonable price, please, let us know.

Weather-wise, since mid-November, nights had been uncomfortably cold; some nights as low as 52°F or 12°C. Although by the last week of January, nighttime temperatures increased to the mid 60's. Days, on the other hand, have been pleasant. The river looks as if it may dry up by mid-February. The lagoon is full and no longer smells of sewage, which brings me to the next point.

The community sewer plant is managed and operated by Puerto Vallarta Water and Sewage. Under a 20-year contract, water from the plant is sold to John Hardesty, who in turn supplies water to his golf course, a school, and the soccer field. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. the plant is in full operation, with filtered water either going to the above or dumped into the lagoon. Unfortunately, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., the plant is closed and unfiltered sewage is dumped into the lagoon. To resolve the problem the plant would have to be operated 24-7.

When looking at the entrance to the soccer field you would assume that, the name thereon was the donor of the floodlights. Not at all. The lighting was made possible by a generous donation from John and Clara Hardesty. Over the years, they have also installed two community wells. If a study on the latest well is correct, it may contain enough water to supply the community year-round for many years to come. Regarding their museum property, south of town, despite rumors to the contrary, there was no attempt on their part to fill in the lagoon, but only to cover up decades of garbage dumped on the southeast side of it.

Over the past two months, 120 copies of the 2008 Homeowners Directory have been distributed to 96 residents. Of the 177 listings in the directory, I have not been able to contact 81 residents. A solution to this problem is simple. If you would like a directory:

........* Email me the time that you would like me to deliver a directory to your home.
........* Call me at (311) 258-4100 to arrange delivery.
........* Pick up a directory at my house on calle America Latina, #102.

Please note: Small directories are also available but I cannot remember the names of those who wanted them. If you would like a copy, call me or email me for delivery, or pick one up at my house.

From now on, in order to avoid numerous hours spent tracking down elusive property owners, listings will be removed from the first part of directory (but not the White Pages) for any one of the following reasons:

........* For not having contacted us (updated their information) over the past three years.
........* For not having contributed to the costs of publishing the directory over the past three years.
........* For not having built a home on their property for over three years.
........* For insufficient information: telephone number(s), e-mail address(es), street address(es)

The Directory was initially created to generate funding for our marine turtle, community cleanup and education programs. We need your help to keep this publication up-to-date. If you have any corrections, please, send me an email.

Good news! You can now bring your recyclable materials (plastic of all kinds, glass, cardboard, paper, aluminum and other metals) to the warehouse next to Alianza Jaguar (ex Hojanay) where Lalo and his team will receive them. Alianza Jaguar received a 100,000 pesos grant from the Mexican government to set up and operate this recycling center. Be part of the solution, not the problem, and recycle!

Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
Mexico tel. (311) 258-4100
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico


..............................The last nests of 2008. Don't knock they will
..............................come out on their own.


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