■ BY SUE ERWIN
The Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association would like to remind everyone that sea turtle nesting season officially began on May 1, and it’s more important than ever to remember to cover up holes and knock down sand castles when visiting the beach, and dispose of any trash properly.
So far, six nests have been documented by patrol volunteers.
Due to the beach renourishment project, special care will be taken to ensure that any nests in the area are relocated.
“We are being assisted by Don Pedro Island’s permit holder, Brenda Bossman, who has significant experience in relocations, which are quite a delicate and fragile process, where a nest is taken apart egg by egg and placed in a bucket,” said Melissa Csank, BGSTA board member. “Then a new egg chamber is built farther down the beach, where it will not be impacted by the relocation.”
The eggs are then placed in the new chamber in exactly the sequence in which they were found in the original nest. During this process, the eggs cannot be rotated or turned from the original position they were found in. The information is then sent to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. These data help track the health and activities of the species.
Shield all point sources of light visible from the beach and remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach at night. Also be sure to cover up any holes that are dug on the beach so hatchings don’t fall in and get trapped, and flatten sandcastles, because they could hinder the females as they search for a good place to make their nest.
If you see a stranded or dead manatee anywhere in state waters or a stranded or dead sea turtle, dolphin or whale, call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at (888) 404-FWCC (3922).