The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 8 No. 49 - August 27, 2008

TURTLES

Fay has no effect on turtle nesting here

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

PHOTO COURTESY AMITW Tropical Storm Fay had little effect on Island
turtle hatchlings. That was not the case on the east coast where 430 green
and loggerhead hatchlings had to wait out the storm before they could be released.

The rough seas, somewhat high tides, long-lasting winds and intermittent rain had no effect on Island turtle nesting.

"We did find a few hatchlings down by the water, and since the rain washed out any tracks, we figure all the hatchlings got to the Gulf OK," Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said.

Fox said her counterparts around the state also reported they had no real problems from the storm, except in Brevard County.

"Due to Tropical Storm Fay, Brevard County had a lot of hatchlings that couldn’t make it out, so they arrived today (Friday) — all 430 of them," wrote Tammy Langer, who manages the sea turtle conservation program in Brevard County. "Five of them were greens and the rest were loggerheads."

The hatchlings were gathered as they hatched during the worst of the storm and held in a kiddie pool until the weather cleared enough for a safe release.

"No one else reported anything significant," Fox said. "They did say they had some nests washed over on Manasota Key, but washovers don’t harm the nests. It’s just when the water stands for a long time that you get damage. All our nests are safe and hatching out on schedule."

Warning letters sent

Bradenton Beach sent letters last week warning two properties to come into compliance with lighting regulations after 96 hatchlings were drawn to illegal lights instead of to the water.

When lighting that is not shielded or turned off is visible from the beach, turtles can become confused and disoriented. There are regulations in each of the three Island cities mandating that lights be turned off or shielded during turtle nesting season.

Fox filled out a disorientation report with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission which occurred on Aug. 3. A copy was forwarded to Bradenton Beach.

"We sent a letters to Coquina Beach Club and Bungalow Beach," noted Code Enforcement Officer Wendy Chabot. "We sent the letters out on Aug. 21 giving them until Aug. 27 to come into compliance."

Chabot said that the letters included a warning that if any turtles become disoriented in the meantime, the owners of the properties could be liable for state and federal fines that can be levied when harm comes to a sea turtle as a result of lighting violations.

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