Juno turtle rehab center prepares for oil slick

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

JUNO BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The McIntosh Family decided to spend a day on the beach in case this is one of the last days they will be able to enjoy it.

"Because we really feel that it's inevitable. The oil is going to head our way. The beaches are not going to be clean enough for us to be able to enjoy it," said Chrystel McIntosh.

No one knows for sure if the oil slick will affect Florida's east coast beaches, but the state is preparing for a worst-case scenario.

Florida's $65 billion tourism industry is at stake.

Officials say the spill should be treated like a category 5 hurricane.

Already Governor Crist checking in with the state's office of emergency management which -- like in a hurricane -- is preparing ahead of the impending disaster.

"So what I asked them to do is to make sure and assess what inventory they have in terms of booming. To prioritize where they might need to place that," said Crist in a Monday news conference.

At Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach they are preparing for the danger the oil spill will cause to sea Turtles.

They are one of five turtle rehab centers designated by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that will receive hundreds of sea turtles if they wash up on the west coast because of the slick.

Already, a dozen turtles have turned up dead along the Gulf Coast; although, it's unclear if the oil spill played a role.

"What we will be looking at is turtles who have eaten the oil as food, turtles covered in oil or that have breathed in oil," said Nannette Lawrenson, Executive Director.

The center was already stretched thin by the cold snap in January when it got flooded by turtles that were in shock because of cold ocean temperatures.

"We need new meds, new anti-biotics and coveralls for people helping us with the turtles," she added.

Lawrenson says she doesn't need any more volunteers, just financial contributions.

If you would like to help click here: https://www.marinelife.org/donations.htm

Copyright 2010 WFLX. All Rights Reserved.