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Protecting the turtles

FIRST TURTLE NEST DEDICATED TO FORMER HILTON HEAD PUBLIC PROJECTS DIRECTOR

BY AMBER KUEHN, SEA TURTLE PATROL HHI DIRECTOR

The first loggerhead turtle nest was found on the Sea Pines beach on May 5. Between now and October the Sea Turtle Patrol will welcome nesting turtles, protect their nests, monitor hatching, and record and report all data to SCDNR.

This first nest was dedicated to Scott Liggett, the late director of public projects and facilities for the Town of Hilton Head. To honor his dedication to the environment, the beach, and the turtle protection program, this nest is marked with golden poles and an engraved plaque. 

Liggett, the town engineer for 30 years, spearheaded the beach renourishment project.

The Town of Hilton Head said Liggett “was a really wonderful person…. He was passionate about his work.”

Last year 283 loggerhead sea turtle nests were laid on Hilton Head beaches. Typically, after about 60 days the hatchlings will emerge and make their way to the ocean. 

With an average of 120 eggs per nest, there are thousands of hatchlings that need to have the best chance of making it to the ocean.  

Starting at sunrise every day, the Sea Turtle Patrol drives the 14 miles of beach looking for signs of nesting turtles and checking nests. Mornings and evenings the Turtle Trackers sweep the beach for trash and litter, fill holes, and knock down beach structures that could get in the way of the nesting turtles or the hatchlings. 

Turtle Patrol encourages the hotels and resorts along the beach to have specific programs to engage their guests in the sea turtle conservation program. 

There are a variety of informational signs, scheduled beach clean-ups, and weekly turtle presentations conducted by members of Sea Turtle Patrol HHI. 

Keep the beach clean, flat and dark at night. Please use red flashlights at night, and turn down oceanfront lights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

Sea Turtle Patrol HHI is a 501(c3) non-profit organization. To view a new video, donate, join the mailing list and follow Hilton Head Island nesting progress, visit them online SeaTurtlePatrolHHI.org.