County hurries to finish renourishment projects ahead of height of sea turtle season

Environmental groups concerned over sea turtles

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Time is running out to finish up beach renourishment projects ahead of the height of sea turtle season. Crews are working fast to level out escarpments, or sand cliffs left behind after those projects.

A bulldozer worked to level sand that stacked high along the shore at Oceanfront Park in Boynton Beach Wednesday. 

"The waves come in and carve out a big chunk of sand at one time, and that's why you have these scarps or cliffs on the beach," said Leanne Welch, with the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management

Todd Remmel represents the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental conscious group worried the escarpments create a barrier wall for sea turtles. 

"The turtle will either crawl along the escarpment and not nest, or worse they'll nest in front of the escarpment putting the eggs or nest at risk during the next high tide," said Remmel.

The county is trying to level the sand to a 4% grade, one turtles can easily climb. 

Sea turtle nesting season already started so we asked the county how they know this work won't disturb a nest that is already here.

"This beach has been monitored every single morning since March 1st, we have two nests out here. The bulldozer operator knew where they were and knew to avoid them," said Welch.

Remmel is pleased to see the progress, but still has concerns. 

"Here you can see the grading that took place this morning is already being eroded. So we have to make sure we keep our eyes on this."

The county crew will be back Thursday to continue smoothing out the beach. All work needs to be done by May 1st, when sea turtle season really ramps up.