Turtles in South Walton have prevailed through Hurricane Sally


WALTON COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — South Walton has been affected greatly from the storm surge Hurricane Sally brought, and in many ways, the impacts are still seen but not just by human residents.

Turtle nests have been on the front lines of rough surf in the area.

South Walton Turtle Watchers have been able to check-in on these incubated nests. When Hurricane Sally hit, there were 34 nests underground, but after the storm, volunteers said they lost 15 nests to washouts. 

But the good news, the turtles have been able to prevail.

Although turtle nests were affected greatly by various storms, South Walton Turtle Watch Area Coordinator Barb Van Stavern said they are still expecting many nests to still hatch.

“We’ve had a really great year so far, obviously the weather is our biggest issue but, its mother nature, that’s why these turtles nest so many times in a season,” said Van Stavern.

We are nearing the end of turtle hatching season, and Van Stavern said she expects to see hatchlings leading into November, but unfortunately there is not a timetable.

“Hatches can be anywhere from 45 to 80 days after being laid,” said Van Stavern. “But we keep a really close watch on them so we can watch out for those signs.”

A few days right after Hurricane Sally, Van Stavern said they received the news a green turtle nest hatched, which is the least common to see.

“It’s amazing to see how resilient these creatures are,” said Van Stavern. “They have been around a very long time. They survived dinosaurs. They know how to do it, they know what they are doing. They do not need a lot of intervention other than the protection of their nesting habitat.”

When it comes to protecting turtle nests, it is everyone’s responsibility and they are federally protected as well. Their nests can either be right in your back-yard or near public beach access, either way, it’s important to leave their nest undisturbed. 

If you do see a sea turtle washed ashore or think you have spotted a turtle nest, visit the South Walton Turtle Watch website to learn more.

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