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Water-Related News

Hurricane Idalia washed sea turtle nests in Pinellas away, but the season was a success

Each year, between May and October, threatened and endangered sea turtles create their nests along Pinellas County's beaches.

While Hurricane Idalia took a toll on turtle nesting season in Pinellas County in late August, an expert says it helped that when the storm came, many of the nests already were hatched.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium usually counts about 300 sea turtle nests each season along a 21-mile stretch of beaches in northern Pinellas.

This season, which ended in October, a total of 227 nests were counted, said Carly Oakley, a senior biologist in the Sea Turtle Conservation Program at the aquarium.

When Idalia came through, Oakley said the damage to nests could have been much worse had the storm struck earlier.

"It was towards the end of our nesting season. So, we only had 75 nests left on our beaches when the hurricane came through, and then afterwards … we were able to actually reestablish 14 of those nests," she said.