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turtle nests + technology = more open beaches?

Eric Kaplan, founder of the Hatteras Island Ocean Center (the newest environmental center on the Outer Banks), knew turtle nesting behavior had a significant impact on beach driving. As Jeff Hampton reports for the Virginian Pilot, the solution for learning about what’s really happening in the nest may as simple as common household items and an innovative use of technology.

Sea turtle hatchlings. The quick trek to the sea is called a boil. Photo NPS

Sea turtle hatchlings. The quick trek to the sea is called a boil. Photo NPS

“One day, we will be able to predict when nests hatch,” Muiznieks said.

Forecasting a hatch could shorten the period – to a few days from the current month or more – that park staff must cordon off the beach from vehicles, she said. The public could be invited to watch a “boil,” the moment when roughly a hundred baby turtles emerge from the sand and crawl to the surf. Biologists would not have to spend as much time monitoring the nests.

For now, park rangers patrol the beach daily from May through Sept. 15, finding where mother turtles crawled ashore to lay eggs, and marking the area with signs.

The hatch occurs about 62 days later. Rangers close off the beach, from nest to surf, starting about day 50.”

Read the rest of the story HERE.

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