Beach loss due to storm minimal, sea turtles don’t fare as well

Associate Publisher

During Tropical Storm Debby, Longboat Key received approximately 10 inches of rain, according to Town Manager David Bullock. Some homes in the Village were flooded, as well as the Mar Vista Restaurant, and some of the beaches lost sand.

“On the beach we lost elevation, but the beach did exactly what it is designed to do. I cannot quantify the impact scientifically,” said Bullock. “At Northshore Road the seawall did what it was designed to do. It protected the road so the road was not eroded out.”

Although the beach remained relatively intact, the real loss during Tropical Storm Debby was suffered by the sea turtles.

According to Mote Marine’s Hayley Rutger, the storm damaged, destroyed or concealed a majority of sea turtle nests from Longboat Key to Venice. Mote researchers are trying to assess the total number of sea turtle nest stakes that were washed away, and re-establish the sites. Sea turtle nests are marked with four stakes and taped off with information on when the nest was discovered, and the estimated date of hatching. A number of these stakes were lost during the storm, and with storm waves washing over the nests, it becomes difficult to locate where they are.

“Approximately 82 percent of local nests lost the yellow stakes placed for identification; some of those nests were destroyed but others may still hatch,” stated Rutger.

Also, sea turtle nests cannot survive being submerged with seawater over them for extended periods of time. Rutger says it will take time to determine which nests actually survive the water inundation. While all areas have not been assessed, according to Rutger, Mote researchers have verified 244 nests out of 1,367 that were marked before the storm. Rutger says that hopefully the large volume of nests laid so far this season will help offset the potential losses from the storm.

“Until Debby, nesting numbers were looking great, with more nests laid between April and June 2012 than during all of the 2011 nesting season,” stated Rutger.


Below are the numbers of sea turtle nests Mote has verified in each area as of Tuesday, June 26:

Longboat Key: 77 verified of 341 nests previously documented (23 percent)

Lido Key: Eight of 47 nests (17 percent)

Siesta Key: 55 of 198 nests (28 percent); inventory is not complete.

Casey Key: 21 of 580 nests (4 percent); inventory is not complete.

Venice: 83 of 201 nests (41 percent)


Patrol volunteers have now resumed their normal nest-monitoring duties now that the storm has passed. The Patrol includes Mote scientists, interns and more than 300 volunteers who monitor 35 miles of local beaches during the turtle nesting season which lasts from May 1 through Oct. 31.

Special Instructions to get rid of storm debris, yard waste

The same rules for yard waste preparation apply to the fallen branches, trees, leaves and other yard waste materials from your property generated by the high winds of Tropical Storm Debby.

Properly prepared yard waste is containerized, bagged or bundled. Yard waste may be placed in 32 gallon cans, yard waste bags or bundled with twine.

Bundles and containers are limited to 40 pounds. Bundles are also limited to four feet in length and 16 inches in diameter. Loose debris may not be hauled away.

In order to insure that Waste Management picks up your yard waste it must be properly prepared and placed on your curb by 7:00 a.m.

Please remember that Wednesday, July 4th is a collection holiday; your alternate pickup date is Thursday, July 5th. Your regular garbage pick up will also be on Thursday.

Please place your garbage container at least three feet away from your yard waste.


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Longboat Key News

3 Responses for “Beach loss due to storm minimal, sea turtles don’t fare as well”

  1. geneonlbk says:

    Most coastal engineers agree that 86% of the sand is lost into the inlets from our beaches. Erecting groins will alter the geometry of the beach immediately adjacent to the structure. However, groins to not stop sand loss after the effects of the structure have been achieved in a matter of months. Then sand loss continues unabated, dredging cycle after dredging cycle, as the cost doubles with each cycle.

    The commissioners prefer to spend tens and tens of millions of tax dollars to keep up the same loser dredging fiasco we have done for the past 3 decades, when mining the lost sand from the inlet and returning it to the beach costs 1/10th what it costs to find and dredge new sand every six or seven years.

    Of course the engineers want the most expensive projects. They are not stupid. The big question is, does that apply to everyone involved in the process.

    It’s your tax money.

  2. Ghostrider says:

    Where did the missing sand go?
    My wife and I took a walk tonite and we discovered the answer.
    It’s going to be controversial being that most of you are armchair warriors and unless you have pictures from BEFORE the storm AND more importantly you have MADE THE WALK from the beach starting at North Shore Road entrance heading north and around the bend to the bridge, my analysis is going to be ignored. The storm hit on an incoming tide and our million dollar sand was REdeposited on a new and dramatically widened “beer-can stretch.” To be more precise, you now have a sixty-foot wide beach deposit there that was not present last Summer in July. My guess is that a good deal of the remaining missing sand is sitting at the bottom of the channel. Records will confirm my contention.

  3. Ghostrider says:

    Define “minimal.”
    You are going to have a backlash when half of the island’s residents return this Winter. You lost 90% of the new million-dollar sand.
    What beach are you looking at?

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