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