ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Wildlife officials and volunteers in St. Johns County are keeping a close eye on turtle nests along the coast, after Hurricane Dorian wiped out nearly all the nests in one coastal community.
This year marked a record year for the number of nests recorded on the small stretch of beach according to Beth Libert, the marine turtle permit holder for Summer Haven. A majority of the nests were lost there when Hurricane Dorian moved up the Florida coast, creating rough surf and powerful storm surge. Sea turtle eggs could be seen washed up on the beach and the road away from their nests the day Dorian hit.
"It's very depressing. We spend a lot of hours out on the beach marking the nests and monitoring them and to see your hard work just washed away and turtles gone. It's very sad,” Libert said.
According to Libert, on Sept. 1 – the day before Dorian, there were 25 nests on Summer Haven. After the storm, only two were left.
With several weeks left in hurricane season, Libert worries they will lose the nests that remain if another storm threatens the coast.
She also manages two other counties where they lost about 300 nests.
Sea turtle nesting season officially runs through the end of October.