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.


Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Featured Event Sunset History Tour by Kayak  August 11 Join Outdoor Chattanooga and the  Chattanooga History Center  for a beginner friendly,  guided kayak tour on the Tennessee River  on  Tues., Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.  We'll meet at Raccoon Mountain ... (click for more)

Hixson Neighborhood At The Lake, Coppinger Want Curbs On Hunting From Boats

Both a representative of a Hixson neighborhood on the lake and County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Wednesday they want curbs on hunters who fire weapons from boats near populated areas. Austin Seay said residents of Fairview Harbor on Jan. 25 heard gunfire from the lake and found that hunters were shooting waterfowl from a boat near the subdivision. He said 911 was called, but ... (click for more)

Zaxby's To Go In Across From Bass Pro Shop At New I-75 Exit 1 Development In East Ridge

A new Zaxby's will be built across from Bass Pro Shop at I-75's Exit 1 in East Ridge, developer John Healy said Thursday night. He said other restaurants and hotels are also coming to the Jordan Crossing site at the entrance to Camp Jordan Park. Mr. Healy said he hopes to make a "significantly larger" announcement soon. The East Ridge City Council, at a special called meeting, ... (click for more)

Young Man Involved In Incident That Led To A Murder Gets Diversion, Praise For Testifying

A young man who was involved in an incident that led to a murder has been given diversion and praised for testifying against co-defendants. Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman said a conviction for facilitation of an aggravated robbery can be expunged if Dustin Hayes gets in no further trouble for six years. The judge said, "We wouldn't be dealing with 40 shootings a year ... (click for more)

The Silence Is Deafening - And Response

In this week’s news cycle we have the international uproar over the killing of Cecil the lion. In the same time most national news outlet refuse to even mention the undercover videos of so call doctors and technicians discussing the harvesting, processing and sale of human baby body parts.  The argument by those liberal, progressive Democrats has been that the “fetus” was ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: They Still Love The ‘Lickers’

When Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Fl.) introduced the 2015 version of the “Prevent All Soring Tactics” in Congress this week, he already had a bipartisan crowd of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats as co-sponsors. That’s hardly amazing. Today there are over 280 organizations, associations, veterinary and animal advocates who vehemently support the legislation, because it is well documented, ... (click for more)