PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – While Elsa is no longer here, the storm did leave an impact on sea turtle nests across Pinellas County beaches.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program tells 8 On Your Side a majority of their sea turtle nests were impacted by the storm.
“We have a little over 200 nests and about three-quarters of those were affected by Elsa,” said Lauren Bell, Senior Biologists for the Sea Turtle Conservation Program.
Following Elsa, the team with the Sea Turtle Conservation Program were continuing their regular checks on the nests, plus taking weather notes to see how the nests were impacted.
“Was the nest inundated, meaning is it under a layer of water, does it keep getting washed over, or was the nest completely gone, meaning out stakes were gone,” added Bell.
While the direct affects are unknown at this time, Bell tells 8 On Your Side that too much water can be deadly for the eggs.
“Any time water is going over it in heavy amounts we worry that water is going to start seeping into that egg chamber and kind of cement those eggs in there,” said Bell.
According to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, sea turtles have a nesting strategy that accommodates such natural events. Each nesting female turtle deposits several nests throughout the nesting season, essentially hedging her bets to make sure that even if a storm hits at some point during the nesting season, there is a high probability that at least a few of the nests will incubate successfully.
If you encounter any disoriented hatchlings or impacted nests please do not handle, collect, or try to save the turtles. Please call Clearwater Marine Aquarium 727-441-1790 EXT. 1