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Turtle nests ‘fare well’ against Tropical Storm Andrea

By Staff | Jun 19, 2013

High tides from Tropical Storm Andrea “washed over” 46 out of 81 nests on Sanibel and 15 out of 36 on Captiva. PHOTO PROVIDED.

Turtle nests are typically disturbed by any powerful storm churning through Southwest Florida, but officials with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation said island nests fared well against Tropical Storm Andrea.

Forty-six out of 81 nests on Sanibel and 15 out of 36 nests on Captiva were “washed over,” meaning the water covered the nest without necessarily damaging the eggs. Furthermore, the foundation reported that 14 nests were lost on Sanibel and three on Captiva, yet that doesn’t mean the nests were destroyed.

So far all of the nests have been from Loggerheads, but Green Sea Turtles are starting to arrive for their nesting season.

Not only were the tides higher from Andrea, but Amanda Bryant, biologist and sea turtle coordinator with the SCCF, said this year’s batch of turtles are digging their nests closer to the water. Normally, they choose spots farther up the beach near the dunes.

Even though a number of nests were washed over or lost, Bryant is optimistic about the hatching season.

In 2012, Tropical Storm Debby “washed over” many turtle nests along the beaches. PHOTO PROVIDED

“I won’t discount any of the nests that got washed over because some might hatch just fine,” said Bryant. “Unfortunately, we just have to wait and see whether the nests hatch or not. We do have some nests that were untouched.”

Some nests were underwater for days during Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 and still hatched. It all really depends on the age of the nest, she said.

“We fared pretty well through the storm, but this is comparing it to last summer with Debby, ” said Bryant. “Luckily, Andrea was here and gone pretty quickly.”

For more information, visit www.sccf.org.