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Elsa disturbs nearly 150 sea turtle nests along Tampa Bay-area beaches

Sea Turtle
Posted at 11:41 AM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 14:41:55-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — While Tropical Storm Elsa damage did not impact a lot of people in the Tampa Bay area, it did disturb nearly 150 sea turtle nests on Pinellas County beaches.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium says nearly 75% of the 200 sea turtle nests on Pinellas County beaches were impacted by storm surge.

Now teams of volunteers that work with CMA and monitor turtle nests along 20 miles of Pinellas coastline are working to redo the work they’ve already done this season. That means locating the nests, replacing markers, and putting up signs.

"Unfortunately, the biggest threat to or impact to these nests is the water. Who would’ve thought, right? They live in the water. But it's actually detrimental to those animals that are incubating in these nests, so the little baby sea turtles," said Kelly Martin, director of animal care for CMA.

Martin says it will take us a few days to “clear” the beaches for public access, which typically includes a delay in placing any hotel cabanas, furniture, and beach cleaning that may occur.

If you see sea turtles, nests, or hatchlings in distress, Martin says do not touch or interfere with the animals, instead call the aquarium's hotline at 727-441-1790 ext. 1, or the local wildlife agency in your area.

This story was originally published by Wendi Lane at WFTS.