BY JACK SHORT - Sea turtle season is inching closer and closer to its completion, not unlike a hatchling heading for the water, but that doesn’t mean residents can let down their guard yet. Grace Harvey, the state permit holder for Gasparilla Island, would like to remind everyone to keep those lights off just a little while longer. She said volunteers in zones six and four encountered problematic lights.
“We get a lot of cooperation here,” she said, “and I’m very grateful for that.”
However, it’s just by luck that she was able to contact the property owners and managers of both sites. If there is no way of getting in touch with whomever is in charge, lights can stay on far too long. When that happens, turtles run into trouble, literally.
View More images >>“The hatchlings will go for the brightest thing on the horizon,” Harvey said. Unfortunately, that may mean the lights on someone’s porch.
Harvey also said they’ve been experiencing major problems with predators.
“Coyotes, bobcats and ants,” she said.
In addition to biting and killing turtles, fire ants present a danger, or at least aggravation to volunteers as well, making excavation without bites difficult.
Harvey is hoping that, next year, “Dr. Bader’s Natural Solutions To Things That Bug You” will offer some solutions to ants that won’t involve pesticides.
Other volunteers haven’t had so much action.
Maureen McConnell, who is in charge of zone seven running from 10th Street to the Range Light, said things have been extremely quiet.
“I have one more nest to excavate and then I’ll be an empty-nester,” she said.
The nest is long overdue to hatch, she said, so she doesn’t expect much in it.
O’Connell didn’t have a full zone, as she said, because of erosion.
That may change next year, though. The renourishment plans set to begin soon will add much needed yardage to Boca Grande beaches, and consequently to turtle nesting habitat, Harvey said.
She added that they plan to talk with the state parks representatives about the area in front of the Range Light parking area. It had not been included among the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Conservancy’s zones and so was not being monitored for part of the season.
Turtles were determined to keep things swinging, though. Zones two and three, and the state parks each added a loggerhead nest. Zone six had two new loggerhead nests and a false crawl. No new green activity was reported.
Dizey Lindquist said two nests were added that had previously been missed, which would bring their numbers, without the state parks’ totals, to “the magic 400.”
She also added that the group would be providing more educational materials next year, which is one of the things they’re hoping to secure donations for.
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