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Sea turtle nests survive record rainfall and resort hot tubs

MELISSA REID
Associate Publisher
mreid@lbknews.com

Thankfully, Turtle Watch volunteers look after sea turtles everyday. Their dedication will aid in ensuring the safety and proliferation of the sea turtles, to hopefully someday take them off the endangered species list.

To that end, this year there have been 1,270 nests along Longboat Key beaches to date this year, as compared to 1,160 cumulative total nests to the same date in 2016.

Longboat Key Turtle Watch Vice President Cyndi Seamon says that although there were a few overwashed sea turtle nests after last weekend’s three-day rainstorm that dropped 14 inches of rain on Longboat’s beaches, the nests seem to have survived the large amount of rain with no negative outcomes.

“I just know that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday a few nests were overwashed, but it (flooding) really wasn’t that bad on the beach,” said Seamon.

Overwashes occur when the nests are covered with water for extended periods of time, making the eggs less viable and not likely to hatch.

Other than the few overwashed nests, Seamon says the turtle nesting season is moving along well, and with the increased number of nests this year so far, this turtle nesting season seems to be successful.

Seamon added that the number of disorientations of mother sea turtles due to chairs and furniture on the beaches has decreased now due to the fewer number of mother turtles coming onshore to nest; however the hatchlings are still suffering disorientations due to lighting issues along the beach.

The lighting issues are being addressed by Code Enforcement Officer Chris Elbon who patrols the beach and enforces the turtle lighting ordinance. Seamon says one solution to the lighting disorientations are sand dunes which shield the lighting from the buildings and also act as a physical barrier for the hatchlings to prevent crawling toward the buildings and landing in a hot tub or pool.

“We have several times had to fish the hatchlings out of a hot tub on the beach, and place them into Mote Marine Hospital until they are ready for release. Although the foliage will hopefully grow higher to block the hatchlings from entering the hot tub, I know sand dunes would help as well,” said Seamon. She also said she and the manager of the hotel are working together to solve the problem.

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Longboat Key News

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