Sea turtle nests prepped for storm

Associate Publisher

Longboat Key Turtle Watch and Mote Marine volunteers are busy removing sea turtle signage in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

Longboat Key Turtle Watch Vice President Cyndi Seamon says the group has taken out all the sea turtle information placards already, which are Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) signs informing beachgoers about sea turtle nests. And with Hurricane Irma’s wind speeds reaching upwards of 180 m.p.h. as of Thursday, anything could become a dangerous projectile.

“We’re taking out the signs that don’t need to be there; we’re just expediting and getting as much off the beach as we can. The yellow placards that are FWC, those become heavy in the wind, so we took them off,” said Seamon.

In addition to those signs, Mote Marine and Turtle Watch volunteers have removed the stakes surrounding some of the sea turtle nests on the nests that aren’t necessary to be marked and also have removed the tape. Sea turtle nests typically have four stakes and tape connecting them to demarcate the nest, but not all sea turtle nests are marked with stakes. All sea turtle nests are, however, input into a GPS program so Mote Marine can monitor the nests.

“Sometimes we’ll take the orange tape off the stakes because in the wind it will drag the other stakes down. We’re also taking stakes out that don’t need to be there,” said Seamon.

Seamon says the nesting season is coming to a close anyway, and that fortunately with the timing of Hurricane Irma, there aren’t as many nests left to hatch. She also says that Longboat Key Turtle Watch is waiting for Mote Marine to tell them how to monitor the nests in the upcoming days leading up to the hurricane, but that she and her fellow volunteers will continue to walk the beaches until the rain comes.

“There’s a few volunteers that have already evacuated, we’re waiting for an email from Mote. Longboat Key Turtle Watch has fewer volunteers so it’s easier to monitor, Mote has 200 volunteers so it’s harder to manage. In the last storm that came we couldn’t walk in the morning because of the rain, so we waited until afternoon when it was dry and then did our monitoring,” said Seamon.




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