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Red tide's impact on 2019 sea turtle nesting season

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Posted at 2:59 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 17:38:43-04

LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. -- Sea turtle nesting season has begun in the bay area.

Sea turtles will lay their eggs on beaches from Clearwater to Venice. More Marine Scientists are reporting 13 nests on the first day of the season.

Tips to help keep sea turtles safe this nesting season

“We are out there to protect the sea turtle nests, but also to collect the data to see what the trends are doing,” said scientist Melissa Bernhard.

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Volunteers on Anna Maria Island and on Longboat Key are keeping track of turtle tracks and marking nests in the sand.

“They make huge imprints in the sand, if you can imagine a two-hundred pound plus turtle,” said volunteer Cindy Seamon.

Group members are hopeful for a robust season this year but they also know the 2018 red tide killed or injured hundreds of turtles.

“We had a lot of strandings of dead and juvenile turtles that are in the 5 to 10 year range, so we aren’t really sure how it’s going to impact the nesting in our area,” Bernhard said.

Here are steps you can take to protect the turtles:
-Keep trash off the beach
-Knock down sand castles
-Keep condo porch lights off at night

Sea turtle nesting season lasts until October.