The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 8 No. 52 - September 17, 2008

TURTLES

Despite storms, overwash, nests hatch

Despite the fact that the Island has been brushed by two major storms this month, turtles continue to hatch.

"It’s pretty amazing," said Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox. "We had three nests hatch in the last few days. They were over washed with both storms, but healthy hatchlings emerged.

Fox said that Gustav, which passed off our Gulf shore on Labor Day weekend, washed away about 25 percent of the nests that hadn’t hatched already.

"It took the stakes and all," she said. "We saved a few eggs and reburied them, and some of them even hatched," she said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission guidelines mandate that nests be left alone unless eggs are actually exposed by waves and tossing in the surf.

"With Ike, it’s as though sand was deposited back on the beach," Fox said. "We’ve had a few nests hatch since the worst of Ike, and there was three or four more inches of sand on them than there had been before the storm. The sand came way up on the stakes."

Fox said there are 21 more nests left to hatch, and she expects they’ll be fine, too.

Some of the sections of beach where volunteers walk each day during turtle nesting season are already clear of nests.

"We’ll continue to monitor what’s left, and at the end of season, I don’t think our numbers will be too bad," Fox said.

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