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Sea turtle monitoring on the islands making adjustments due to oil spill

By Staff | Jul 14, 2010

One of Sanibel's marked sea turtle nests discovered during the current nesting season. This year, nests are located via GPS.

The SCCF Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring Program is doing a number of things under the guidance of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to protect sea turtles on Sanibel and Captiva after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The most visible is how the nests are being marked. 

This nesting season, all nests are being marked with four yellow stakes with an additional four stakes in the dune to assist in locating the nest if the stakes surrounding it are lost. All nest locations are being documented with an extremely accurate GPS to further aid in locating the nest if the four stakes surrounding the nest are lost. 

Specially trained sea turtle volunteers are determining the exact location of each nest’s egg chamber, which will help us protect the sea turtle hatchlings in the event of oil reaching our shores. 

Please remember to practice sea turtle friendly behaviors on the beach. It is important to respect all sea turtle staking, even the extra stakes in the dune vegetation.

This year, more than any other, sea turtle conservation is imperative. The survival of our hatchlings is an important contribution to sea turtle populations because of the struggle to survive facing adult and hatchling turtles in other areas along the Gulf Coast.  

Sea turtle nesting season is from May through October and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation coordinates over 100 volunteers each summer who patrol the beach by foot or jeep for sea turtle nests. Nests are staked and monitored; after they have hatched, the eggs are counted and the nest stats are reported to FWC. 

To learn more about sea turtles, come to a Turtle Tracks program at SCCF on Thursdays at 9 a.m. Please call SCCF at 472-2329 for more information.