Checking on turtle nests after Idalia passes Hilton Head

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 3:46 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s sea turtle nesting season.

Our coastline provides an important role when it comes to protecting the species. Were any nests affected by Idalia?

About a third of the sea turtle nests on Hilton Head Island are yet to hatch so far this summer, and the concern heading into Idalia was that they would flood. That the water, and the storm surge would come up so high that it would rise to levels above where these nests have been laid and the nests would be inundated with water, killing all the eggs. For the most part, they don’t think that happened.

WTOC did a ride along with the sea turtle patrol Thursday morning as they started to go out and take inventory of this storm’s impacts. They said, at this point in the season, it’s too late to relocate nests, so heading into Idalia all they could do was hope for the best and cross their fingers the storm surge didn’t get too high.

“I believe it’s better than it was, than we thought it was going to be. Susan and I were personally out on the beach Tuesday evening, and it seems that the tide is about the same as it was Tuesday evening maybe a little bit worse, but I think we are better off than we thought we would be,” Carrell Cranswick, with Sea Turtle Patrol, said.

Sea Turtle Patrol said that two nests were lost to storm surge and 12 nests were significantly overwashed but could make it. There were a total of 348 nests on Hilton Head Island this year.