Friday, May 31, 2019

2019 Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins with a Bang

Loggerhead sea turtle track and the
Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol on May 26
The sea turtle monitoring teams across the barrier islands of the Lowcountry have been a busy bunch in May of 2019. The warmer than usual weather brought the mature female loggerhead turtles onshore sooner than normal and with greater pace. The red hot start to the sea turtle nesting season does not guarantee a record year however, since the turtle nesting frenzy may simply end earlier too. It is factual to say that the turtle hatchling season will be starting sooner since it takes about 60 days for turtle eggs to incubate in the beach sand.

The Town of Kiawah Island is leading the way with 100 loggerhead sea turtle nests in place by May 24, with daily nesting totals as high as one dozen. Longtime Lowcountry residents can recall when a slower pace of one or two nests per day was the norm, with higher rates only coming occasionally. In 2018, Kiawah only had a total of eight sea turtle nests by the same time, putting them on a potentially record pace for overall turtle nests. In 2013 Kiawah recorded 404 sea turtle nests, which still stands as their highest total ever.

Seabrook has set a record for the month of May regarding loggerhead sea turtle nests in 2019. The previous record high in May at Seabrook was 20 nests in 2017, and they went on to have a total of 70 nests that year. In 2015 they recorded 19 nests in the month of May and 75 sea turtle nests overall. But 2018 was a slower year for turtle nests. All of the nesting success thus far in 2019 is great because sea turtle mortality is always a concern during the busy boating season of summer. On May 23 the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol found a stranded dead Kemp’s Ridley turtle on their beach and reported it to SCDNR.

The Edisto Beach Loggerhead Turtle Project is reporting good success thus far too, with 28 sea turtle nests by May 23, when seven turtles came to lay eggs in one night. The Edisto team is also raising awareness about visitors not leaving shade canopies, beach chairs, cast nets and fishing equipment on the beach overnight. They are all a hazard to nesting sea turtles, especially any large holes dug into the sand that are not filled back in by the folks doing the digging. The annual Lights Out campaign to guard against light pollution that might disorient a sea turtle is ongoing through October 31. 

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Summer Calendar for Edisto Events

Newly expanded fuel dock at Edisto is ready to welcome boaters
The Memorial Day holiday weekend is the traditional beginning of summer. Most schools are getting out for summer, and family vacations to the beach are an annual rite of passage. The summer weather pattern is already in place with long sunny days on tap for the next three months. The full moon in late May jump started the sea turtle nesting season, and the countdown for those watching for the first hatchlings is already underway. Fishing tournaments are almost every weekend from now until the Edisto Billfish Tourney in July.
Golfers have had a good spring watching the annual tandem of The Masters and The Heritage. Professional golf is returning to the Lowcountry on May 30 in Charleston with the Women’s U.S. Open golf tourney. The Country Club of Charleston will host the week long event that will feature the top female golfers in the world. This will be a first for the Lowcountry to host a major tourney for women golfers. Plan to support this event, because it will be held in Houston, Texas in 2020.

The Edisto Cookin’ On The Creek Barbecue Festival will be held Friday May 31 and Saturday June 1 in Bay Creek Park. This waterfront park by the Marina at Edisto Beach has an amphitheater for live music, and a grassy area for vendors and lawn chairs. The teams of the South Carolina Barbecue Association that compete at this event are serious pit masters that take their craft to a high level. Friday night is the wing throw down from 6 to 9, and the BBQ tasting on Saturday is from 11 – 2, with a ten dollar daily admission.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from 2019 at Edisto click Dolphin Slam

To view past blog entries from 2018 at Edisto click - I Love Edisto Auction - Coastal Geology - Grits Cook Off - Thirsty Whale Tours -Edisto Billfish Tourney

To view past blog entries from 2017 at Edisto click on Edisto Music Festival - Lions Club Bingo - Business of the Year Jim Bost Tourney - Edisto Billfish Tourney - Tomato Open - Summer Activities 

To view past blog entries from 2016 at Edisto click on Jim Bost Memorial - Dolphin Slam - Cobia Tourney - Spring Shorebird Synergy - Bovine Bones on Beach - Edisto River book - 2016 Edisto Billfish Tourney 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Tracking Cobia Migration Via Satellite

Anglers looking at a net full of cobia need to
check closely for any tracking tags
Cobia populations remain in focus by those who steward marine natural resources because their migration patterns are still a mystery. Cobia can be long-lived and large, swimming up and down both the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines. Recreational anglers and those with an interest in commercial harvest commonly target cobia. Four states are now working together to deploy pop-up satellite tags in 27 cobia, hoping to learn more about their life history, and S.C. anglers are being asked to report any cobia caught with a tag.
Satellite tags are expensive, but they can record data such as distance of travel, and depth of water, that might reveal spawning behavior. Biologists from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina will be working together to record all the data from these tracking devices. Satellite tagged cobia do not need to be reeled in to gather the data, because the pop-off tags will detach and float to the surface, where a satellite can receive all the data it transmits.

Funding for this project comes from a cooperative research program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Kennedy Space Center Ecological Program represent the sunshine state. An additional 20 cobia will be tagged with acoustic transmitters to compliment the satellite tag program, and all other past cobia tagging efforts. Acoustic tags emit a ping that can be detected by a scientific network of underwater listening devices along the Atlantic coast.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

For past blog entries on cocoa click on South Lowcountry Management Zone - Fly and Light Tackle - Gamefish status - state record

To view past blog entries on Migratory dolphin off S.C. click 2016 20152014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2007