Little St. Simons Island’s seven miles of beaches are great habitat for nesting loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). LSSI experienced a record nesting year in 2013 for Loggerhead turtles with 119 nests. In 2012 the island saw its second highest year with 116 nests of this federally threatened turtle. This trend is reflected in state numbers which reached a record high in 2013.
Since 1987, LSSI has worked with Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) non-game conservation program to monitor the beaches for sea turtle activity including crawls, nests, and strandings of dead turtles. A DNR technician is stationed on the island and works daily throughout the loggerhead nesting season (May-September) to monitor the beach and to enter the data into the statewide database. While bicycling the beach the technician searches for, identifies, and documents every sea turtle crawl encountered. The tech checks the area and determines if there is a nest or if it was a crawl without a nest. After locating a nest, the technician will decide if it is necessary to relocate the nest or if it should be left where it was laid. This is determined by the highest tide line on the beach and the knowledge of when the extreme high tides will occur next. The purpose of relocation is to ensure that the nest will not be inundated with water during incubation. If relocation is necessary the technician will identify a suitable location for the nest, move all the eggs to the new location.
We take an active role in educating our guests during the nesting season and our technician and staff naturalists often lead evening walks on the beach during nesting season.