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Northeast Ecological Corridor

Luquillo and Fajardo, Puerto Rico
The Northeast Ecological Corridor (NEC) refers to an area formerly designated as a protected Nature Reserve located on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, between the municipalities of Luquillo and Fajardo. Specifically, the lands that comprise the NEC are located between Luquillo’s town square to the west and Seven Seas Beach to the east, being delineated by PR Route # 3 to its south and the Atlantic Ocean to its north. It was decreed as a protected area by former Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal S. Acevedo-Vilá in April 2008, a decision reversed by Governor Luis G. Fortuño-Burset in October 2009. The area comprises 2,969.64 acres (1201.77 hectares),[1] which includes such diverse habitats as forests, wetlands, beaches, coral communities, and a bioluminescent lagoon. The Corridor is also home to 866 species of flora and fauna, of which 54 are considered critical elements, meaning rare, threatened, endangered and endemic species classified by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), some even designated as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). These include, among others, federally endangered species such as the Plain Pigeon, the Snowy Plover, the Puerto Rican Boa, the Hawksbill Sea Turtle and the West Indian Manatee. The beaches along the NEC, which are close to 8.74 kilometers (5.43 miles) long are important nesting grounds for the Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which starts its nesting season around April each year.

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