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SeaTurtles Nests Down on OBX due to nourshed sand?

By: Kathy W.
8/24/2006 4:26 PM

They also tell us that there will be more hurricanes than normal. This is normal and they don't know what they are talking about. A guess is the best it is and it could be from too many 4x4 drivers killing them.

8/24/2006 8:05 PM

It is also caused by water temperature

8/24/2006 8:10 PM

By: Di
8/24/2006 9:25 PM

What exactly do a seaturtle nest and eggs look like? When I was there this summer, someone had an area roped off in Southern Shores, claiming it was a turtle's nest.


By: Neil S
8/24/2006 9:33 PM

Could you show me some documentation re: ORV's running over turtles?


This poster has no clue what so ever. I’ll try to educate him just a little.

In the “nesting season” there are NO 4X4’s from the gate at the Villages of Ocean Hill all the way to Oregon Inlet with the exception of Emergency Vehicles and just a couple of permitted Commercial guys.
Not only are you wrong there, but you also are not aware that these same people are on the beach EVERYDAY at daybreak combing the entire area looking for turtle tracks which are not hard to see even with one eye closed. If they find one they rope a small area off around it and sit there around the clock protecting the nest from harm.

Water Temp? With the amount of Biologist they have volunteering on this team do you think for a second they would know if the water temp played a part in this? Absolutely!

Kitty Hawk has been good for 2 to 3 nest every year, not a one this year. Pine Island is good for a few nests each year also, but not this year. Did you know about all the sand they pushed around up there over the winter? Didn’t think you did.

The reporter did not do a good job with this article there is no “if and buts” about that, but he had more facts than you do. I’m no tree hugger, but these people are not infringing on the public while they go about a good thing.

You remind me very much of this guy that writes all the silly letters and sends them into the local newspaper. I hope he never stops because what would we do without the funny pages. Here’s the one he sent in last week replying to the Turtle article.


Blame it on Isabel

In your recent article by Ed Beckley "Sea Turtle Nests Down" it was implied that beach nourishment was the cause of this problem.

While I commend Millie Overman for her hard work and dedication to this effort, she is a hard working volunteer, not a scientist. I, as a historian, do not agree with the premise of this article.

First, the Town of Kitty Hawk and Nags Head have not seen a real beach nourishmnent project that matches existing sand with the nourished sand. What they have seen is a five-year emergency berm project provided by CAMA. While the sand that they have used may not be as compatible with the existing sand as some may like, it is not the reason why sea turtle nests are down.

Second, Isabel came ashore approximately three years ago. The beaches of Kitty Hawk and Nags Head were seriously eroded in the aftermath. Ms Overman says herself "Turtles are forced to lay their eggs at the base of the embankments, closer to the ocean than they would otherwise lay, and the high tide snatchs the eggs into the sea."

Do not blame the sea turtles for not nesting in a place where there is no beach during high tide. It is the erosion problem after Isabel that is the reason why sea turtle nests are down, not beach nourishment. As a matter of fact if Nest really wants to see sea turtle nests proliferate in Nags Head they should be for beach nourishment not against it as it would provide more space for sea turtles to nest.

Barry Brockway

8/24/2006 9:36 PM

By: MikeinNova
8/24/2006 9:55 PM

Taken directly from the UAF website:

Sea turtle nesting season typically begins in May. Female turtles migrate from feeding areas to the region of their birth. Each female will lay an average of 3 nests per season, with about 14 days rest between each nest. Most sea turtles probably do not nest every year, instead opting for biannual migrations.

To nest, the female will crawl up the beach, choose a location, and begin digging with her hind flippers. The nest cavity is hour-glass shaped and about 2 feet deep, depending on the size of turtle. The female will then deposit between 60 and 160 eggs in each nest. After using her hind flippers to fill the nest back in with sand and pack it down, she uses her front flippers to throw sand over her back to further cover the nest.

The mother turtle then crawls back into the sea, leaving the eggs to develop, hatch, and survive on their own.

Sand temperatures play an important role in the incubation and development of sea turtle eggs. The temperature of the nest actually determines the sex of the hatchlings. Eggs that are incubated above 29o C (about 85o F) will produce female hatchlings. Eggs incubated below 29o C will produce male hatchlings. Also, while nests take approximately 60 days to hatch, warmer temperatures will speed up development and cooler temperatures will slow development.


By: Shelly
8/24/2006 10:12 PM

"4x4 drivers killing them"?

The article talks about a reduction in nests on the beaches north of Hatteras Island. With the exception of the areas north of Corolla and south of Coquina Beach, 4x4's aren't allowed on those beaches except in the off season after the turtles have hatched.

On Hatteras Island where 4x4's are allowed, there are 76 nests. These nests are all marked and enclosed so that vehicles drive around them. When the nests are ready to hatch, the beach is closed to vehicles from the nest down to the surf.

I have never seen any reports of turtles being killed by 4x4's on Hatteras Island. I believe your statement is totally false and if I'm wrong, please provide some proof to back up your comment.


In re: Letters-editorials

You're female aren't you? How did I know? Easy, you lack something with the ? handle.

8/24/2006 10:14 PM

By: Silverball
8/24/2006 10:27 PM

In the wild it really just looks like beach. In populated areas, it looks like beach with a roped off area around it.

Anything to make it look like a nest will cause all the predators to come eat up all the eggs.


Documentation of nesting Turtles on one single nourished beach. The sand is too hard and they do not nest. You are a die hard nourishment activist. I challenge you to prove that sea turtles will or have ever successfully nested on a nourished beach.
Nesting is down because of the berm. If a turtle struggles up a beach and reaches a berm that they do not feel is safely above the high tide mark, they return to the sea, since they cannot pull themselves up the steep incline. If the berm were not placed to protect the greedy oceanfront owners, the beach incline would have been suitable for the female turtles to move further west to lay their eggs. Using Isabel and the loss of beach is insane. there are sections of beach that are wider now than in the 70's and I have pictures to prove it. Yes we lost beach after Isabel and that was years ago and there are no signs of Isabel anywhere on the beach except for where nourishmnent projects have been tried. Example, South Nags Head.
Being a Historian, you should be used to facts, which is what history is. Instead you relate to us your theories. Perhaps you should have been a Mathetician.
South Nags Head tried a nourishment project to the tune of millions of dollars, 2.5 miles of beach, compatible sand or so they say and have screwed themselves in the process. The beaches in SNH used to rebuild after winter storms due to Accretion. That natural process has been disturbed. Perhaps not due to the nourishment project that took place by pumping hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of incompatible sand on the beach. But by what else? That incompatible sand almost immediately disappeard from the beach and changed the lay of the sand on the bottom of the ocean. Did this have something to do with the natural accreeding of sand that usually moves south and depositing itself on the SNH beaches. No one knows for sure, but I've lived here since before your cottage was even built, and never have the beaches in SNH been in worse shape since that project took place.

8/24/2006 10:36 PM

In re: Letters-editorials

You're female aren't you? How did I know? Easy, you lack something with the ? handle.

My egg was incubated below 29o C. And yours?

And what would I be lacking?

8/24/2006 10:43 PM

By: Renee
8/24/2006 10:51 PM

Thank you Shelley!

It's ridiculous statements like the one above with no, absolutely no, basis in fact, that cause so much grief for all of us who are fighting for our rights to access the beaches we love.

I surely don't know the answer to why there aren't any turtles up there, but there are plenty on Hatteras, and if I had to guess I would say Steve B is probably very right!


In re: cheap shot at Sparky

balls Mr. ? .... balls

8/24/2006 10:54 PM

are sparky and Berry one of the same? If so it sure seems he forgot to use his real name first then doesn't it? Just stating the facts.

8/24/2006 11:03 PM

The FEMA berm was not a beach nourishment project. They trucked sand in over two years from Currituck sand pits, much smaller grain sand than the existing beach. But it was piled into a berm, not spread over the beach. And the quantity was nowhere near what you would use for a nourishment project, 1/10 maybe.

8/24/2006 11:20 PM

By: vanative
8/25/2006 5:37 AM

...i have missed your voice of reason...keep shouting...some of us are listening.................


The turtles hate nourished beaches becuase the sand is so hard packed and even if they were to successfully dig a nest, the hatchlings cannot "claw" their way out if they hatch. The sand basically suffocates them in the "mud pie".

The folks who also bull-doze or push the beach (I believe Sparky aka Barry last year paid to have a beach push done on the beach) also create a huge obstaacle for turtle nestings.

8/25/2006 12:40 PM

By: Robert
8/25/2006 2:19 PM

Proceedings of the Coastal Ecosystems and Federal Activities Technical Training Symposium
August 20-22, 2001

The Effects of Beach Nourishment on Sea Turtle Nesting and Reproductive
Success, a Case Study on Hutchinson Island, Florida

Robert G. Ernest
Ecological Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 405
Jensen Beach, Florida 34958

Phone: (561) 334-3729, Fax: (561) 334-4925
Email: eai@gate.net

Between 1995 and 1997, Ecological Associates, Inc. conducted a three-year study to assess the effects of a
four-mile beach nourishment project on sea turtle nesting and reproductive success. The study site was
located in Martin County on Hutchinson Island, a barrier island on the southeast Florida coast. Hutchinson
Island was an ideal site for a case study because it had never been nourished, it supported high-density
nesting by loggerhead turtles, and a long-term nesting database was available. The experimental design
consisted of three treatments, each three kilometers in length. Two of the treatments were nourished, while
the other served as a control. Following construction, one of the nourished treatments was tilled to reduce
sediment compaction; the other was not. The control was neither nourished nor tilled. A complete year of
pre-construction (baseline) data was collected during 1995. Dredged sand (1.2 million cubic yards) was
placed on the beach during the winter of 1995/1996, and two years of post-construction monitoring began in
April 1996.

The wide, relatively flat beaches of nourished treatments had no apparent affect on the relative number of
emergences of turtles onto the beach. However, the percentage of emergences resulting in nests (nesting
success) declined in both nourished treatments following construction, suggesting that changes in beach
characteristics had decreased the attractiveness of the beach as nesting habitat. Because this effect was
similar in both tilled and untilled treatments, it indicated that factors other than compaction (e.g., beach
profile) were responsible. A determination of nest site suitability was apparently made relatively early into
the crawl, as nesting crawls on nourished beaches were significantly longer than non-nesting crawls. Turtles
utilized the entire width of available habitat for nesting. This placed nests nearest the ocean at increased
risk of being washed out as the beach equilibrated during subsequent periods of erosion.

The nourished beaches were generally more compact, wetter, coarser and warmer than those of control and
pre-nourished beaches. Tilling significantly reduced compaction levels and effectively eliminated the
impacts of high compaction (>500 psi) on the frequency of abandoned digs and the time required by turtles
to excavate an egg chamber. The warmer sands of nourished treatments significantly reduced incubation
periods and may have contributed to a higher incidence of late-stage embryonic mortality. However, despite
changes in the incubation environment there were no significant differences in overall reproductive success.
Recommendations are provided for mitigating the negative effects of beach nourishment on the sea turtle
reproductive process.


(1)Isabel didn't erode Nags Head and Kitty Hawk beaches as you say, Barry. Essientally, what Isabel did was to pull the frontal dunes down and seaward and in effect, widened the beaches in many more places than it eroded it.
(2) Sea turtles do not fall in love with unnatural beaches, whether the material be from off shore or from inland farm fields via a washdown from the frontal dune system. Trust me, sea turtles will lay on a narrow natural beach much faster than on a wide-man-made beach.

8/25/2006 5:56 PM

8/25/2006 6:35 PM

to set the record straight. sparky on the obx forum is barry j. brockway in the sentinel. i have never hid behind my name as i am registered as barry brockway on this board if you hit my moniker sparky.
when i write to the newspaper i use my real name not a moniker.
i have also read a few scientific papers on the long term effects of beach nourishment on sea turtle nesting and not one has suggested that after the first year of construction sea turtle nesting diminished. reptile are very resilient creatures. if you would like citings of these articles i will provide them but you can also do it yourself by googling beach nourishment long term effects on sea turtle nesting.


By: JennyK
8/26/2006 12:03 AM

Nice to see you posting! Have you been lurking all this time? smiley I miss seeing your photography.