1st Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nest Of The Season In Georgia Found

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The sea turtle nesting season in Georgia has begun.

Kris Williams of the Caretta Research Project and a group of volunteers were patrolling the beach on Wassaw Island at 11 p.m. on Monday when they discovered the year’s first loggerhead sea turtle nest.

Other Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative members found loggerhead nests on St. Catherines and Ossabaw islands Wednesday morning, confirmation that the state’s primary sea turtle species is beach-bound.

These massive reptiles federally listed as threatened crawl ashore on Georgia’s barrier island beaches, dig a hole at the base of the dunes and lay their eggs – usually at night.

They did that a lot last year. Georgia had 2,241 loggerhead nests in 2012, the most in the 24 years the state’s coastline has been closely surveyed for sea turtle nesting. The new high capped three consecutive summers of record totals, including 1,760 nests in 2010 and 1,992 in 2011.

Analysis by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has also shown that those highs aren’t an anomaly. Statistically, loggerhead nesting is increasing in the state.

Nesting is off to a slower start this year. The first loggerhead nest in 2012 was almost three weeks earlier – April 25 on Cumberland Island. The average arrival is May 5.

But DNR Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd cautioned that nesting onset is no predictor of how the season will go. “There’s not a correlation between when nesting starts and how high nesting numbers will be,” said Mr. Dodd, who works with DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section.

As an example, he points to 2010, when seven nests had been documented as of May 15 and 1,760 by the end of the season, a total that is significantly more than the 24-year average of 1,156 nests a year.

In Mr. Dodd’s words: “No need to panic.”

Sea turtle nests are found, marked, monitored and protected by the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative. Coordinated by the DNR, the cooperative is made up of volunteers, researchers and agency employees who patrol barrier island beaches daily during the nesting season.

The health of loggerheads effects coastal environments and economies, particularly in a state where more than 30 percent of residents 16 and older take part in wildlife-watching activities.

DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section works to conserve sea turtles and other rare wildlife not legally fished for or hunted in the state, as well as rare plants and natural habitats. The agency does this without using state appropriations, depending instead on fundraisers, grants and direct contributions. Fundraisers include the eagle and hummingbird license plates. A portion of each sale and renewal of the wildlife plates helps restore species such as loggerheads.

Learn more at www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/support. Details on the Nongame Conservation Section’s work are in the agency’s annual report, www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/annualreport.


Turkey Hunters Reminded Of Harvest Check-In Procedures

With spring turkey hunting season quickly approaching, sportsmen are reminded of the various methods to check in their birds. All harvested turkeys must be checked in by the end of the calendar day. Turkeys can be checked in on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website or on the “TWRA On the Go” smartphone app or at a check station. For sportsmen who do not have ... (click for more)

Free Outdoors GA App Is Updated For Hunters

Almost one year since its debut, the free Outdoors GA app receives a new update allowing hunters to check their harvest without needing cell service, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “We continue to be pleased with this free mobile app that gives both novice and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts’ essential information in the palm ... (click for more)

State Says "Beef" Between 2 Bloods Gangs Started Over A Female And Led Eventually To Shootings At College Hill Courts

The state presented testimony on Monday about a feud between two Bloods gangs that allegedly eventually led to a 16-year-old shooting up a unit at College Hill Courts - killing one woman, injuring another, leaving a child paralyzed and injuring a member of the other Bloods gang. A city police gang expert said the bitter rift between the Athens Park Bloods based on the Southside ... (click for more)

Search On For Chad Cook, Missing Since Early Monday Morning After Going Dirt Bike Riding On Walden's Ridge

Walden's Ridge Emergency Services has been assisting the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office searching for a missing person from Hamilton County since 10:30 a.m. Monday. Chad Cook, 38, was last heard from by family members at 2 a.m. Monday. Family members reported to Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office personnel around 2 a.m. that he, along with two males and one female, were ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oh Yes, I Loved West

One of my most beloved friends died early Saturday morning at the age of 67. Then again, West Oehmig’s only brother – King – died a couple of years ago at 63 so it wasn’t by happenstance I remembered Abraham Lincoln’s famous line: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Here are two brothers who lived larger than any other pair I can ... (click for more)