"Federal biologists on Tuesday proposed the first open ocean habitat protections for the endangered leatherback sea turtle along the West Coast, an action that could affect future development of offshore renewable energy, aquaculture and desalination plants.
The areas were chosen to cover the best feeding areas and migration routes used by leatherbacks within the 200-mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, while taking into account potential economic impacts, said NOAA Fisheries Service sea turtle ecologist Sara McNulty.
The three areas described in the Federal Register extend about 125 miles off the entire coast of Washington, the northern two-thirds of Oregon between the Columbia River to the Umpqua River, and the central coast of California between Point Arena and Point Vincente. They cover a total of 70,600 square miles."