MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Hurricane Dorian is over and out of Myrtle Beach, but what about the sea turtles? How did they fare in Dorian’s heavy wind and rain?
Myrtle Beach State Park Ranger Ann Wilson tells News13 that the state park did lose some sea turtle nests after Hurricane Dorian ripped through, but otherwise, the park didn’t see much damage.
“At our park, we definitely lost three nests,” said Wilson. “They were over-washed and then sat in water and when we checked them after Dorian passed they were already dead. They drowned.”
Two loggerhead nests and one green sea turtle nest at the Myrtle Beach State Park drowned in Hurricane Dorian’s heavy rain.
“It was probably about 250 eggs,” said Wilson.
But, Wilson says sea turtles don’t lay their eggs all in one place, which saved many of them in the storm, all over South Carolina.
“The good news is, sea turtles don’t literally lay all of their eggs in one basket, they start laying in May, and so probably well over 50% or even more of the nests in the state had already emerged and hatched,” she said.
Wilson says it would’ve been a fatal blow to the nests had a hurricane of Dorian’s strength hit in July or August, in the middle of sea turtle nesting season.
In preparation for any hurricane, state park rangers take measurements and GPS points so the can locate eggs after a storm passes.
“You don’t know what exactly is going to happen, and so all we can do is really remove, you know, like for us we have plastic screens that help protect against predators,” said Wilson. “We take up all the plastic, so in case we have tides that will wash things out and create more plastic in the ocean.”
Wilson says she will continue to speak with SCDNR and continue to monitor those numbers as they come back from Hurricane Dorian’s effects.