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.


TWRA Highway 92 Access Area In Dandridge To Be Closed Again On Friday

The TWRA Highway 92 Access Area on Douglas Lake in Dandridge will be closed again this  Friday,  to help facilitate design work for the new bridge construction.    Construction crews will be removing barges and drilling equipment following the collection of lake-bottom core samples.     The closure will begin at 1 a.m. on Friday ... (click for more)

First Right Whales Of Season Sighted Off Georgia Coast

The season’s first sighting of North Atlantic right whales on the Georgia coast underscores the fact that Georgia and north Florida are the only known calving grounds for these endangered whales. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission survey plane spotted a right whale mother and her new calf 16 miles off Cumberland Island  Saturday . The mom, cataloged ... (click for more)

Investor Group Plans $31 Million Hotel In Chattanooga Bank Building

An investor group announced that it is planning the development of an upscale 150-room hotel in the historic Chattanooga Bank Building. MCA is comprised of 20 EB-5 investors as limited partners with Red Leaf Development, managed by David Roos, as the general partner. Long-time partner PHG is involved in the development of the hotel and will be responsible for its management ... (click for more)

Police Say Texts From Slain Minister Detailed Drug Deals

An investigator testified Thursday that a minister who was beaten to death during an apparent drug deal had texts on his phone dealing with similar exchanges of illegal drugs. The minister's wife said he had gone out that night as part of a church counseling program to women. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound charges of felony murder and especially aggravated ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Bless Cathy & Co.

The secret to the whole thing is not getting caught but somebody at the Toys R Us store in Framingham, Mass., had a camera when Cathy O’Grady was very quietly paying off all the layaway balances at the popular location last week. The picture snaked its way onto social media sites and her friends quickly recognized the area’s most famous “layaway angel.” Then somebody in nearby ... (click for more)