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.

VIDEO: Paddlers At Chattajack

Paddlers were on the water early at Chattajack at Ross's Landing.  Chattajack is set apart from similar races by its length. Its distance calls for athletes who have committed to their training and to their pursuit of endurance. The course is one that requires preparation, but is always a fun, rewarding experience. Chattajack is comprised of a community of people who ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Parks Named 2016 Government Recycler Of The Year

Tennessee State Parks was named the 2016 Government Recycler of the Year at the Tennessee Recycling Coalition’s annual banquet on Oct. 17 in Oak Ridge. In 2015, Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Office of Sustainable Practices launched the “Go Green With Us” initiative. The program encourages park staff and visitors ... (click for more)

In Surprise Vote, Chattanooga City Council Turns Down Short Term Vacation Rentals

In a surprise vote, the City Council on Tuesday night turned down allowing a process to legalize short term vacation rentals in Chattanooga. Only Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell voted in favor. Opposed were Carol Berz, Yusuf Hakeem, Larry Grohn, Moses Freeman, Ken Smith and Russell Gilbert. Chris Anderson was absent. Afterward, Councilman Smith said, in light of the vote, ... (click for more)

Cold Case Unit Makes Arrest In Murders Of Brothers In Brainerd Almost 20 Years Ago; Detectives Say Brainerd Jeweler Rick Davis Tied To Incident

The Cold Case Unit set up by District Attorney Neal Pinkston has made an arrest in the murders of two brothers in Brainerd almost 20 years ago. The Hamilton County Grand Jury on Monday indicted 52-year-old Christopher Jeffre Johnson on two counts of first-degree murder in the January 1997 deaths of Sean and Donny Goetcheus. The 25-year-old Sean Goetcheus and his ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saving A Life & More

About 40 years ago I was at an afternoon football practice when one of those who was also watching from the fence was bitten by a bumble bee or yellow jacket or whatever it was and almost died from anaphylactic shock. Luckily an athletic trainer had an EpiPen, jammed it into the man’s thigh and it is believed to have saved the victim’s life. For years I kept an EpiPen on the top ... (click for more)