Irma wrecks sea turtle nests, only a precious few remain

Irma wrecks sea turtle nests, only a precious few remain

■ BY SUE ERWIN

Sometimes nature can get in the way of nature.

Sea turtle nests on the island took quite a hit on September 11 as the wrath of Hurricane Irma pounced over Boca Grande beaches.

Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association board member and volunteer patroller Melissa Csank said the organization still doesn’t have a full accounting of what happened to the turtle eggs or hatchlings.

“Many patrollers are still making their way back to normalcy and we have asked for an accounting but we have not heard back from everyone yet,” Csank said.

Zone 6 reportedly lost 75 percent of the remaining nests. Zone 5 had significant erosion and lost 38 loggerhead nests and three green turtle nests. Zone 3 had significant sand deposits and lost 12 loggerhead nests and one green turtle nest near the Boca Grande Club.

Csank said there have been both erosion problems and additional sand deposits on the beach in several areas.

“In the past, we have seen nests hatch through additional sand so we’re quite hopeful on those,” she said.

It has been rumored that nesting sea turtles aim to lay their nests on higher ground to keep their eggs safe if it is an abnormally busy storm season, but a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation associate confirmed there is no factual evidence of this being true.

On average, sea turtles lay about 100 eggs in a nest, and usually average between two and eight nests a season.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, send a message to the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association via its Facebook page. All training and materials are provided.