Palm Beach County sees record sea turtle nesting activity

Nae's Nest —  June 29, 2012 — 1 Comment

I just posted a small musing about the night I witnessed Sea Turtles coming appearing out of the water.  One by one, they kept appearing.  They shuffled along slowly on a mission.  That night the full moon seemed to be hanging low.  It was as if the moon were an old lantern pulled out of the barn and hung in the sky just for this occasion.

The beach is protected during turtle labor and delivery.  You have probably seen a crowded beach before?  Imagine that while replacing every person for a turtle.  It is fantastic!  I am so happy and lucky to have be a part of something so profound.

The article below is what jolted my memory about the turtles.   I thought it only fitting to share the story with you.

By William Kellywww.palmbeachdailynews.com Logo

THE SHINY SHEET  Rebloggeed from Palm Beach Daily News at the link below

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/palm-beach-county-sees-record-sea-turtle-nesting-a/nPKLR/

 

Daily News Staff Writer

Palm Beach County is seeing record sea turtle nesting activity, a county environmental official told the Palm Beach Countywide Coastal Council on Thursday.

Nearly 20,000 sea turtle nests were recorded on county beaches in 2011 — more than any other county in Florida except for Brevard County, according to Paul Davis, environmental manager with the county’s Environmental Resources Management.

Of the nests, 15,302 were loggerhead, 3,733 were green and 517 were leatherback.

The 19,552 total was a county record, slightly exceeding the 2010 level. It was far more than the average of 14,502, which is based on annual totals going back 20 years.

Green turtle nesting set a record in the county and statewide, at 15,352, Davis said.

While green turtles are making a dramatic comeback, loggerhead totals peaked in the mid-1990s and have been declining since, he said.

About 23 percent of all sea turtle nesting in Florida occurs in Palm Beach County, making this a critical area for sea turtle conservation, he said.

Within the Town of Palm Beach, the totals were 1,465 for loggerheads, 80 for green, and 51 for leatherback. Those totals are based nest counts from near the Palm Beach Inlet, and from the North End, Midtown Beach, and Phipps Ocean Park

Nest counts within the Town of Palm Beach are not complete, Davis said. Of the town’s 12-mile shoreline, about four miles aren’t surveyed. There are no volunteer groups covering those areas, and the town isn’t required to have them surveyed because no shore protection projects are planned for the immediate future in those areas, Davis said.

But not all the news is good. The number of strandings, which are adult or juvenile turtles found floating at sea or washed ashore, has doubled since the 1980s. Their deaths or injuries are generally caused by conflicts with boats and fishing nets.

But Davis said it’s possible the higher stranding numbers reflect an increase in the sea turtle population.

Countywide, an estimated 12,000 hatchlings were disoriented by artificial light. That is an underestimate because seven coastal communities, including Palm Beach, do not report hatchling disorientation, Davis said.

Hatchling sea turtles emerge from their nests at night and orient themselves using visual cues such as light. On natural beaches, that is light from the night sky reflecting off the ocean. But in areas of coastal development the hatchlings are lured inland toward artificial lights.

Coastal lighting ordinances, which bar directly visible light from the beaches during turtle nesting season, have helped address the problem. Today, 62 percent of hatchling disorientation is attributed to sky glow — light that reflected in haze or on clouds, Davis said.

Technological advances are making it easier for people to more efficiently direct light to where it is needed, he said. Some municipalities are developing dark-sky ordinances to require property owners to reduce reflected light, he said.

The coastal council meets periodically and includes representatives from the county and coastal communities. At Thursday’s meeting, the town was represented by Mayor Gail Coniglio, who chaired it, and by Coastal Coordinator Rob Weber.

Nae's Nest

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I find myself "Dancing With Cancer", problem is...I can't dance. I stumble, bumble, and get pulled along. To keep my sanity, (humor me), I write short stories, a journal, musings and poetry....just about anything goes.

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