Sea Turtles Prefer Beaches Cleared Of Debris For Nesting, Researchers Say
Researchers say removing beach debris increases sea turtle nest numbers by 200 percent.
University of Florida researchers monitored beaches in the Panhandle near Eglin Air Force Base beginning in May through September from 2011 to 2014.
The area is among the most popular nesting sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico for loggerhead sea turtles, which are considered threatened.
The debris included fallen trees and stumps and also concrete, pipes and fencing that remained after old military structures were demolished.
The researchers removed some of the debris. They discovered that leaving it also reduced sea turtle nest numbers by 46 percent.
Sea turtles are considered endangered or threatened depending on the species. In Florida nesting season extends through October.
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