The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 50 - September 2, 2009


Turtle season beginning to wind down


SUN PHOTO/LAURIE KROSNEY Trish Trowbridge, left, helps with
record statistics. Next to her is her mother, Island resident
Irene Bystrom, who was celebrating her 91st birthday. AMITW
Volunteer Bud Edgren is holding a bucket that will be used
for any live hatchlings found in the nest.

Turtle nesting season on Anna Maria Island and elsewhere in the state is beginning to wind down.

“Well over half the nests have hatched already,” said Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox. “We haven’t had a new nest in over two weeks, so I think we can safely say that the females are done laying their eggs. Now we just watch the nests and hope all the hatchlings get into the Gulf safely.”

Of 167 nests this year, 102 had hatched out by Aug. 28, with an estimated 8,891 babies scrambling into the water.

“It’s time for everyone to be particularly watchful to make sure that all lights visible from the beach are turned off or shielded.”

The beach has been pretty dark overall this year, according to Fox.

“But we have the same few properties that won’t come into compliance with the turtle protection ordinances,” Fox said. “But for the most part, the beaches look good.”

Turtle nesting season runs from May 1 until Oct. 1. During the season, all three Island cities enforce their turtle protection ordinances, including the mandate that no direct lighting be visible from the beaches.

Direct and bright lights can cause nesting female sea turtles and hatchlings to be drawn away from the Gulf and toward the light source. That, in turn, can cause turtle deaths, either in traffic or from dehydration.

FPL asked to shield lights

Holmes Beach officials have sent a request to Florida Power and Light asking them to shield two streetlights.

That action was in response to an e-mail dated Aug. 21 from Robbin Trindell of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that the street lights at 65th and 67th streets were a danger to sea turtles.

“We got the e-mail – it wasn’t a letter – on Monday last week,” Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said. “We sent a notice to FPL that same day asking them to shield those two street lights.”

Bohnenberger said the e-mail was a common request.

“We get that sort of thing, and we take care of it right away, or as soon as possible,” Bohnenberger said, adding that sometimes when information about a light that might be harmful comes in over the weekend, no action can be taken until administrative hours begin on the following Monday.

“But we address these things as quickly as possible,” he said.

Buckets needed

Turtle Watch needs 5- gallon buckets. Anyone who has them can call AMITW, and a volunteer will come pick them up. You can also drop them off at The Sun, and we’ll make sure they get delivered. AMITW uses the buckets for a variety of purposes, including holding hatchlings from disorientations until they can be released into the Gulf.

Call AMITW at 778-5638 if you can help.

Turtle Tally

Turtle Tom

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