Making it easier for turtles to nest

Cliffs at beaches raked down

Recent stormy weather created some natural barriers along our shoreline, creating a daunting challenge for sea turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs.


Stormy weather last month sent a lot of the sand just offshore on South Hutchinson Island where it is slowly returning.


In its place, some steep escarpments, or cliffs. An annoyance perhaps for beach goers, a bigger challenge for sea turtles.


A few weeks ago, a viewer sent us a video of exposed sea turtle eggs.


State and Federal environmental groups decided last week to give the go ahead to a pilot project to reshape parts of the shoreline to help the turtles when they come ashore.


Jim David, who heads St. Lucie County's Coastal Management Program said, "If you have a vertical slope, that makes it very difficult for them to climb up in so what we did was scrape off the top of the slope, pushed it down along the edge and raked it smooth the idea that that's the kind of slope they can climb up with no trouble."


There are still some sharp drop-offs along the coastline but every day there are people walking up and down the sand looking for sea turtles.  


Five spots along a three and a half mile stretch of shore were raked over. Crews will watch to see if the turtles use these smoother pathways to build their nests.


Even with the cliffs here, it has so far been a very good turtle nesting season. Already 800 nests have been logged along this particular stretch of sand at the midway point of nesting season. That's more than had been discovered all of last year.

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