The eye of Hurricane Dorian may have missed the Florida mainland, but the storm still did a number on beaches and wildlife.
Palm Beach County reports that more than 50 percent of the sea turtle nests that were on its beaches during Dorian were lost when the storm brushed the coast.
The turtle nest numbers do not include the beaches that Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach counts. Loggerhead tells WPTV they found that of the nearly 21,000 nests on the 9.5 mile stretch of beach that it covers, about 18 percent were impacted.
This does not include the majority of nests that hatched prior to the hurricane. Even with the losses, the 2019 sea turtle nesting season, which runs March 1 through Oct. 31, has been one of the strongest on record.
The majority of the sea turtle nests in Palm Beach County hatched prior to the arrival of Hurricane Dorian.
Additionally, about 1 million cubic yards of sand was lost from county and non-county beaches alike.
The county said one silver lining is the county has seen a record year of sea turtle nests with about 50,000 and two-thirds of those have previously hatched.
“Turtles actually come up six to eight times every season and lay nests, so that helps them mitigate the impacts from natural disasters," said Benji Studt, public outreach supervisor for Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management.
County officials base their estimation on assessments conducted before and after Dorian.
1 million cubic yards of sand equals about 315 miles of dump trucks filled bumper to bumper, according to the county. It estimates damages at about $23.2 million to county-owned beaches.
You can help the county clean up debris and plastic from public beaches Saturday September 7, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Clean-up events will be held at DuBois Park in Jupiter, Ocean Reef Park on Singer Island, Ocean Inlet, Ocean Cay and R.G. Kreusler Beach parks.