June is peak nesting season for sea turtles, so it is an exciting month for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation as it monitors nests and addresses a few on-the-ground projects.
SCCF Sea Turtle Program staff are relocating nests on Captiva in preparation for the upcoming beach re-nourishment project by the Captiva Erosion Prevention District, officials reported. Existing nests within the project area will have hatched prior to mobilization at the end of July. The SCCF is operating under a permit issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to do the work.
Although nesting activity is rarely reported on the Sanibel Causeway Islands, the SCCF has been contracted to monitor Island B daily to document and relocate nests before construction begins on the island on Aug. 1. Additionally, the SCCF is launching a research project to study the impacts of sand quality on nest temperature, moisture and how the water moves through the sand surrounding the nest.
Three new interns joined the team to help with monitoring, relocation and research efforts. Emily Skinner, Taylor Lawrence, and Malina Baker arrived two weeks ago.
SCCF’s team had recorded 228 loggerhead nests and three green sea turtle nests as of June 2. There appears to be a high proportion of returning turtles nesting on Sanibel. Sixty-three percent of the turtles have been previously tagged by the team.
Those who come upon a female during nesting season are asked to keep their distance, be quiet, do not use a flashlight or white light, and enjoy the moment. For information, visit SanCapLifeSavers.org