Nuclear power plant brings endangered crocodile species back from brink of extinction

The Nuclear Power Plant is helping not just the crocodile species but also manatees and loggerhead turtles. Rather than seeing if this can be repeated in other places, a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service warns: "We wouldn't advise people to normally make those types of impacts." Anyway, this seems like a nice benefit from nuclear power. So what lessons does this have for the Endangered Species Act which forbids any development around endangered species? From blogger Eric Pfeiffer:

. . . The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Florida has been so good to the American crocodile that the reptile was recently taken off the endangered species list. But the croc's newly thriving condition has nothing to do with nuclear power itself; rather the species has cottoned to the 168 miles of manmade cooling canals that surround the plant, adopting the system as a new natural breeding ground.
"The way the cooling canal system was designed actually turned out to be pretty good for crocodile nesting," said John Wrublik, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "It wasn't designed for crocodiles, but they've done a very good job of maintaining that area."
The recirculating water system at Turkey Point works by pumping water from the canals through a condenser, somewhat like a car's cooling system. The canals and berms used in the process have unintentionally become a nesting habitat for the crocodiles, that has helped lower their risk status from "endangered" to "threatened."
Federal wildlife officials say the crocodiles have experienced a five-fold population increase since the late 70's. And the crocs living in the canals are doing even better than their counterparts at the state's other two official sanctuaries, which still classify the enormous reptile as threatened. In 1997, the American crocodile population was down to just 300, while today, it's estimated to be more than 1,500 and growing. . . .
What's more, it's not just the crocodiles that are thriving in the power plant canals; dozens of other protected species are booming there as well, including the manatee and loggerhead turtle. . . .

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