Turtle nesting season wrapping up in the Lowcountry

Turtle nesting season wrapping up in the Lowcountry

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Last year, Beaufort County saw record numbers of turtle eggs being laid on shores.

This year, they weren’t expecting as many, but they are happy with what they got.

The final turtle nest of the season was inventoried on Tuesday night. The sea turtle patrol director says this year was very successful. Our area saw a 72 percent hatch success, which is the highest it has been in this area in a long time.

In total, 291 nests were laid, just below average. Something unusual is all 61 turtles who laid nests were loggerheads, and many have something even more special about them.

“This year was significant for me when I analyze some of the data to know that 20 of the 61 turtles that actually approached our beach, we’re nesting for the first time. So, we’ve never recorded them on any beach. And so, we have a lot of new girls this year,” Sea Turtle Patrol Director Amber Kuehn said.

This year saw new beach regulations designed to help turtles, limits on digging holes on the beach and litter prevention for instance. But there is one ordinance Kuehn still wants to see enforced: nighttime light regulations.

“We’re hoping we’ll be able to really crack down on that. We lost 38 nest this year due to lighting violations. The hatchlings like to go to those bright lights so if you don’t turn your lights off after 10 p.m. and there’s a nest out front that hatches. That’s going to destroy the entire nest,” Kuehn said.

They are hoping by May 2021 they will have more enforceable regulations for lighting.

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