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Turtle report: Downpours and lightning do not deter volunteers

June 20, 2024
By Guest Columnist


The rainy weather system of the past week had some impact on the BGSTA’s turtle patrol activities as well as on established nests. Most mornings, the BGSTA volunteers were out patrolling the beaches as usual, despite the sometimes-heavy downpours. Soaked to the skin, they slogged through the sand marking new nests and false crawls. But whenever lightning was reported in the area, you may have seen them drop their equipment and literally run for cover. Although a little warm rain won’t stop them, lightning is a different story. Patrollers use various weather apps to get alerts when lightning is within ten miles or more to their location and they immediately get off the beach. They know the beach is a dangerous place to be, even when the storm may be many miles away.

The weather system also created some high surf. Dozens of nests that had been laid closer to the water line or even mid-beach were washed over with the surf. In some areas, more significant beach erosion resulted in a few nests partially washing away, with some eggs being exposed.

Patrollers document any such water disturbance for each nest and take necessary steps to cover exposed eggs. Sometimes, the incubating eggs are not affected at all but other times, being washed over or sitting in water for a period will cause some or all the eggs not to hatch. Only time will tell.

All activities of the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association are conducted and authorized under FWC Marine Turtle Permit #MTP-24-123.

At Florida State Parks: 

Gasparilla: 22 loggerhead

Cayo Costa: 272 loggerhead

Don Pedro: 127 loggerhead, 3 green turtles

Stump Pass: 184 loggerhead, 1 Green