Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nesting Enclosures

Driving over the Jekyll Island causeway you will see these mounds of dirt with a wire enclosure over the top. There is grass planted on these dirt mounds.
What are they you ask?
Well I talked to Stefanie Ouellette the Marine Field Programs Coordinator for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC). She told me that these were artificial nesting sites for the Diamond-backed Terrapin. This is special type of turtle that lives in salt and brackish marsh. It is a species of concern. Why? Every year from May through July the females are looking for high ground to lay their eggs. Well guess where the highest place is in our marshes? If you said the causeways and roadways, you would be right. For two years now the GSTC has been watching these turtles. Last year alone 300 turtles were found dead or seriously injured on the Jekyll causeway. The GSTC staff also monitor where the turtle were crossing. They pinpointed these hot spots. This year they are putting up these nesting mounds at these hot spots so the females will crawl up these and lay their eggs. This keeps them from getting on the road. Also just like sea turtles, the nestlings will go down the mound and into the marsh and away from the road. The wire cage over the top is to keep predators like raccoons out. This project is funding by a grant. In this time when funding is short, it is comforting to know that there are projects like this are still funded on the Georgia Coast.


dAwN said...

Wonderful...I hope this helps the turtles population.

Lydia said...

I hope they help too. It is so sad to see those turtles struggling across the road. Last year,GSCT monitored the casueway and pick up the hurt and dead turtles. They were able to save some of the turtle's eggs and incubate them. The Center is doing amazing work.