Welcome to Turtle Season 2015!
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.
In South Carolina, the record 2013 nesting season (5198 nests) was followed by a low nesting season in 2014 of 2096 nests. Biologists surmised that the cold winter had depleted food sources in the ocean and female turtles did not build up the body fat needed to be reproductive. This past winter, while cold, was not as severe and there are hopes for a return to healthy nesting numbers and an upward trend. 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.
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 2015 at DeBordieu and Hobcaw!