We've had rain and high surf for a couple of days, so I haven't been out with my camera. There are a few things I'd like to update you on, however.
First of all, even though a statement has not been officially released to turtle patrolers in this area, it has been widely reported that a decision has been made to dig up sea turtle nests along Panhandle and adjacent Gulf Coast areas around day 50 and relocate the eggs to the Atlantic coast. More specifically we have heard Cape Kennedy will be the spot they are taken. Being familiar with Merritt Island and the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, it sounds like a good location to me.
You may read more about this new relocation plan by clicking HERE.
How well this will work isn't known, but it reasonable to think it has to work better than allowing the tiny hatchlings to swim into heavily oiled Gulf water. I'm very relieved to hear about the new plan and hopeful it will help save our sea turtles. Once I know more, I will update you.
Next, I have begun helping out with the oil spill response as a Wildlife Observer. I may have to step up my supplements to survive the patrol schedule which goes from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. We don't have the luxury of Mules/UTVs at this point as we do during our GINS sea turtle patrols. Instead, Wildlife Observers will be given specific routes between clean-up crews at Point A and Point B and walk back and forth throughout the night checking for sea turtles/tracks (as well as oiled wildlife).
Lastly -- saving good news for last -- we have had two more sea turtle nests in the last couple of days. One nest was on Pensacola Beach and the other in the Santa Rosa area of Gulf Islands National Seashore (the section between Portofino and Navarre Beach). Navarre Beach has now had three sea turtle nests. The discovery of these recent nests is another reason to have sea turtle monitors out there constantly checking the areas around/between clean-up crews to make sure protocol is followed so that sea turtles are not frightened away, their tracks are spotted (not easy with all the tire tracks and footprints!), no one interferes with a nesting turtle, and that nests themselves are properly marked off so no equipment will run over them.