Welcome to Turtle Season 2017!
Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) nest on South Carolina beaches May through October. S.C.U.T.E. which stands for South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts is one of 30 volunteer sea turtle protection projects along our coastline under the direction of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The 60 mile S.C.U.T.E. area extends from North Inlet in Georgetown County to North Myrtle Beach. The six miles of DeBordieu and Hobcaw beaches typically account for 30-50% of the nests in this area.
2106 was a record season for South Carolina with volunteers counting 6446 nests. This is a 24% increase over the previous record year. Here at DeBordieu & Hobcaw, we had a total of 67 nests (DEB 34 - HOB 33). Our record season was 2013 with 108 nests! Many of the first turtles from early protection efforts by SCDNR volunteer projects are reaching maturity (25-30 years) and females are coming back to nest as adults. Credit is given to the volunteer effort along with stricter shrimping and long-line fishing regulations.
2017 will be the 7th year of a multi-state genetics project (NC, SC and GA) in conjunction with the University of Georgia. Volunteers have collected DNA samples from 61,636 nests. This information tells us where turtles are nesting, how often and if they have daughters or granddaughters. Previously, we believed that females returned to their native beach to nest. Through DNA, we now know that while some are site-specific, others will travel great distances between nesting intervals. One turtle that nested on Hobcaw two weeks later nested at Cape Hatteras!
A REMINDER ABOUT HOLES/SANDCASTLES ON THE BEACH: Please dig holes and build sandcastles below the high tide line. The ocean will naturally fill them in. These obstacles can be a hazard to nesting & hatching sea turtles and to people walking on the beach at night. Also, please remember to turn off oceanfront lighting by 10 p.m. during the nesting season. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
On these pages we will bring you Turtle Season 2017 at DeBordieu and Hobcaw!