December 22 - As a sponsor of the Caretta Research Project, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) is pleased to report a successful 2009 nesting season on Wassaw Island, protecting more than 63 loggerhead turtles and their nests. For the past five years, the

"Maintaining the natural quality of our environment is integral to our mission," said GPA's executive director Doug J. Marchand. "At the Georgia Ports Authority, we understand the importance of being a good neighbour and maintaining the right balance in the world community is paramount when planning for future growth. The Caretta Research Project is one of our efforts to protect aquatic species off the coast of Georgia."

The CRP has been studying and protecting Wassaw's loggerheads and educating people from all over the world about sea turtle conservation issues for the last 37 years. This year volunteers protected 91 nests. This allowed 6,418 sea turtle hatchlings to reach the ocean. Without Caretta's efforts the vast majority of these eggs would never have hatched.

"Wassaw is one of the few islands in Georgia to see an increase in the number of nests each year, thanks to the CRP and its volunteers," said Caretta Research Director Kris Williams. "Georgia Ports Authority has been instrumental in Caretta's success."

The partnership between the GPA and the CRP has enabled volunteers to live on Wassaw Island to provide vital conditions that allow the nests to successfully hatch. The volunteers' work dramatically increases the hatchling survival rate by patrolling for nesting turtles, protecting nests from predators and beach erosion and collecting data on the threatened loggerhead sea turtle.