I can understand your being concerned about the Beach Renourishment Project where the first stage began yesterday and will continue for about 2 months. I am certified as a Florida Master Naturalist for Coastal Systems that includes Sea Turtle nesting on the Emerald Coast. Our annual Sea Turtle nesting season for the Navarre Beach Area begins on May 1 and ends October 31. I have the following to say about your comments:Baby_Turtle11 wrote:So when exactly is this starting because I have heard that it is going to be occurring during the nesting season of sea turtles. I have been working my butt off for the past couple of years trying to give these little guys the best chance to survive considering that their odds of survival are only 1 in 1000.So what is going to be done with them?
1. I appreciate your efforts in working your butt off to give the Sea Turtles the best chance to survive. We need all the volunteers we can assemble.
2. Your implying that the Sea Turtles chance to survive considering that the odds of survival are only 1 in 1000 is not exactly accurate. What reliable marine source did you use in making this determination? Yes, there could be some Sea Turtle nesting disruptions and some losses during the 2 month Renourishment Project.
3. The Renourishment Project will be dredging new sand from (2) two dredge ships about 4 miles out in the Gulf and deliver it to the large pipes submerged just off the beach, and pump the sand onto the beach where pipes will be placed parrelly with the beach that pumps sand where it is needed. Then bull-dozers will distribute the sand up to the existing Berm (Sand Dune) and out into the Gulf whereby creating a much wider beach. The (2) dredges will operate simultaneously 24 hours per day. While one dredge is depositing sand from its hopper onshore the other dredge will be filling its hopper of sand 4 miles offshore. The Project is supposed to complete its sand distribution at about 500 feet per 24 hours. Based upon this the Sea Turtles nesting might only be affected for a 24 hour period. This is dependent upon their not being too many storms like we endured last week.
4. The Project’s first pipes for pumping sand onto the beach was put into place on April 20 in the vicinity of the west tower of the Beach Colony condo, which is about a ½ mile west of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Once the 2 dredges arrive in about 10 days (estimate) or more the actual sand distribution will move eastward towards the Pier and continue eastward until the Project ends at the eastern boundary of the Navarre Beach Marine Park. Then the Project will start back at the west tower Beach Colony condo and move westward until the Project is completed at the end of the Navarre Beach western boundary, which is the entrance to the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
5. Any Sea Turtle nests discovered prior to the arrival of the pipes will be dug up and taken to the Gulf Islands National Seashore and buried by marine, or taken to a place where they can be observed by knowledgeable people, and once hatched returned safely to the surf.
6. A big plus for us is that Navarre Beach has our famous Turtle Ladies that at every sunrise ride 4 wheelers covering the entire beach looking for evidence of where a Sea Turtle deposited her eggs in the sand during the night. These fantastic Turtle Ladies will be instrumental in marking nesting areas so that prompt attention can be implemented if necessary. I just talked on the phone with one of our main Turtle Ladies and she said that they are prepared to help in any way they can to help protect the Sea Turtles during this Project.
7. The Renourishment plans were to start the Project in February and be completed by May, however there were many delays in the (2) dredges completing their dredging on a beach in the Sarasota, FL area and the other one at a beach in I believe New Jersey. The contractor is Weeks Marine and because of all the terrible storms since last December the dredges have to stop work during high seas and go to a safe port to dock. Pensacola Beach is real upset right now because they have contracted with Weeks Marine’s same (2) dredges once Navarre Beach’s Project is completed, and until Navarre Beach completes its Project Pensacola Beach has to wait the delay process.
8. There are certainly pros and cons to the Project starting soon. Before Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Dennis in 2005 Navarre Beach was virtually destroyed including its sand dunes. The Sea Turtle nesting count for Navarre Beach over the past decade has been much greater after Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dennis. Last year was our best Sea Turtle Nesting ever! The higher slope of sand caused by the 2006 Navarre Beach Restoration Project provides for safer nesting not only for Sea Turtles, but for our nesting shorebirds as well.
9. The thought in the community weeks ago was to discontinue the Project now and start the Project again in November. There are (2) problems with this. 1) We might not be able to obtain the services with Weeks Marine then. 2) And most importantly we would lose the federal and state funding whereby it might be years before another schedule and funding could be put in place.
10. We do not have a perfect situation with this Project. It is what it is.