Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Loggerheads in trouble

From Oceana: 2009 Nesting Data for SE States Shows Dire Status of Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Note that some of the data comes from Topsail and some from Baldhead (beaches immediately to our north and south).

Lots of issues here besides the obvious non-use benefits from the existence of charismatic megafauna...

When we think of turtle population trouble, we might first think of marine issues such as turtles being incidentally caught or trapped in fishing gear ("by-catch") or the destruction of habitat. But land use activities are also critical to turtle populations. Here's the rub. Beach renourishment generates or maintains untold millions in tourist revenues and protects valuable coastal investment. We all benefit from such investments via economic impacts, the beneficial effect of wider beaches on insurance rates and our share of the land rents from wide coastlines. Yet this same renourishment threatens an important species. What information do we need in order to inform policy aimed at protecting beaches AND protecting turtles?

7 comments:

Tyler Nagelvoort said...

There needs to be an effort put forth to determine the value of the loggerheads, however this situation must be well thought out. Making the decision to fully restore beaches or to limit the restoration in effort to preserve the turtles will ultimately hurt one of the two non market goods.

Kyle Borgemeister said...

We need to raise awareness about the decrease in the population of sea turtles. We also need to consider alternative methods of beach renourishment. One way is to change the policy and perhaps limit the season for renourishment so that it is not in competition with the loggerheads or other threatened species. There should also be more increased edforcement of T.E.D's on all nets.

Anonymous said...

As Tyler said, there needs to be an effort to find out the value of the turtles. This needs to be done in order to do a cost-benfit analysis of beach renourishment. You would need to compare the costs of renourishment, including loss of economic value from the death of turtles, as compared to the gain from things such as tourism. - Ryan D

Taber Bartoshesky said...

Beach renourishment is mainly done in all coastal areas with an economic incentive. The first being incentive to save someone's valuable investment ( a.k.a their giant beach front mansion), and secondly to preserve the beach to an extent that will allow for enough beach area for tourists with money to comfortably enjoy a day at the beach. For these reasons it seems that no local government will stop funding such beach renourisnment projects simply because of a turtle species. Therefore it is best we learn to work in a way that will leave the turtles disturbed as less as possible. To do this it will be imperative to learn the exact time periods during the year when turtles begin their nesting, and when the last eggs hatch and the babies make their way down to the sea and far away from that beach. With this information it will be easier to reserve a window of opportunity for the beach renourishment projects to successfully take place with out any disruption to the natural course of the turtles most important processes of life. Another important piece of information to be used would be what areas are more heavily nested. It would then be necessary to pay close attention to these areas, and try to alter the beach as little as possible in these areas. If it is then discovered that only a small portion of the beach is nested by the turtles and the majority of the beach is in fact not nested on, it can then be assumed that the beach renourishment could possibly be more concentrated in those areas absent of turtles nesting.

Eric Goss said...

Substitutes to beach nourishment projects need to be researched in order to determine if it is the best technique available. Terminal groins could be a substitute used to decrease the frequent use of beach nourishment projects. Beach nourishment is going to become more and more expensive due to the fact of a limited supply of sand and other fined grained material that the projects require. We have to find better engineering ways to maintain our beaches so that we can save money and save species such as that loggerhead sea turtle.

Braxton Rascoe said...

Due to the constant movement of barrier islands, beach renourishment as a whole most likely will be a losing battle in the long run. Although it does present short-term safety from these beach front investments being overtaken by the Atlantic, the overall costs of a 3 day storm could be so vast that the State of North Carolina or any state (eg. South Carolina - Folly Beach)could not afford to replenish the beach. But as Taber said, a direct study of Loggerhead nesting / hatching periods as well viewing historical data on storm destruction could prevent some damage to the population and habitat. Another way to decrease beach erosion is to plant vegitation as well as fences which trap sand to the beach.

Maggie Yayac said...

There needs to be a study done to evaluate the value of the sea turtles. Then we need to compare this to the benefits and costs of beach renourishment. I think it would be a good idea to inform people about the impact of beach renourisment on turtles. I did not know that. I'm sure once all the facts are out there there will be a way to balance the beach renourishment and sea turtle population. I know there is not recommended to replenish the beaches during sea turtle nesting, if there is not a law in place one needs to be made, or strengthened. I think that would provide more of a balance and hopefully decrease the impact on turtles.