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Environmental concerns addressed over Bob Hall Pier demolition during sea turtle nesting season

Despite the Kemp's ridley nesting season being in full swing, officials say there's no shell-shock in store for nature lovers

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Knocking down a local landmark can't be fun to begin with - but on top of that, with demolition underway on the iconic Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi for its eventual renovation, concerns are being raised over local sea life.

The Kemp's ridley sea turtle, common along the Coastal Bend, takes its time to nest from April to July. While some sea turtles wait until night falls to make themselves at home, the Kemp's ridleys get a little bolder; the females may be found laying eggs on the beach during the day when nesting season is on.

Responding to concerns around the demolition work starting off at such a delicate time, the Director of Coastal Parks here in Nueces County, Scott Cross, says that to date there is no "documented" nesting activity of turtles on this particular stretch of beach.

"You've always got the juvenile greens who like to hang by the jetty, but they don't want to be around all that, they're gonna avoid it."

County Judge Barbara Canales concurs. She adds that although the pier's demolition has begun, the contractor responsible is obligated to halt their heavy-duty work if the bay's shelled seafarers show themselves.

"We have this turtle clause, if you will, in the contract that puts a complete halt on work until we can notify the proper authorities... Donna Shaver, Padre Island National Seashore, the Sea Life Center, or the ARC."

Officials say that construction ought to begin now rather than later, with inflation rising and workers' safety becoming a concern as hurricane season approaches.

Cross told 3News: "You have sustained winds of 25 miles an hour, per OSHA standards, they can't operate that crane. It was the right time to go, looking at everything and knowing what we could do."

The pier is being demolished for a to-be-decided construction crew to build a new design in its place. With the old pier having collapsed in Hurricane Hanna, the upcoming update to Bob Hall Pier is being built to last, expected to endure 50 to 75 years. Hopefully, these plans come to fruition without a hitch, and Mama Turtle stays out of harm's way for over half a century!

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