Company pays to relocate threatened Texas tortoises at LNG development site
As the NextDecade company clears ground as part of the construction of their Liquefied Natural Gas project at the Port of Brownsville, the company is paying to relocate protected Texas Tortoises from the area.
The state threatened species are being moved from the LNG project site to a pasture 130 miles away in Kingsville, as part of a research experiment.
Researchers at Texas A&M-Kingsville and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute are studying the tortoises to see the effects of the move.
Texas tortoises have suffered great declines across the state over recent decades. The study aims to understand if relocation is an effective technique to offset the impacts of habitat loss.
“Can we translocate them to another area that we know in the future potentially won't be messed up,” graduate researcher Christin Moeller said.
Scott Henke with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute says this research could help with decision-making around the state with any development project that clears habitat.
“Will they try to go back home back down to the Valley or will they stay in the area they were put,” Henke said. “But there's been no true study to show the Texas Tortoises will do well once they've been translocated, and so that is how this really all originated.”
The results of the research may help with future decision making in development projects across the state which impact Texas tortoises, Henke said.
NextDecade put in $100,000 for this project, with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and Texas Department of Transportation putting in another $70,000.
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