Recommendation 4-E:  Adopt additional measures that will help secure and further promote sea turtle nesting success

The Jekyll Island Authority has clearly recognized the importance of loggerhead turtle habitat with its establishment and support of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.  The Authority has also taken a major step in the right direction with its adoption of the 2008 Beach Lighting Ordinance, which enables prevention of light pollution on the island’s beaches, a pollution that can result in failed nesting and in misdirection and death of hatchlings. Further steps, though, are needed to secure Jekyll Island's beaches for loggerhead turtle nesting. The adoption of a protection plan for sea turtle nesting habitat would be one good step in this direction. The plan could include measures that would provide for:
  • Strict enforcement of the new Jekyll Island Beach Lighting Ordinance, including a required schedule of beach-lighting surveys during loggerhead nesting season
  • Enhancement of the dune structure in areas of the beaches where dunes have been altered or destroyed (since nest building takes place at the dunes' edges)
  • Education of Park visitors, via handouts and beach signage, regarding the types of lights that are and are not acceptable on the beach at night during loggerhead nesting season and the importance of staying off the dunes
  • Reduction of loggerhead-nesting obstruction caused by the beach armoring on the northern portions of the island’s beaches
  • Keeping new development well back from the beach, behind the sand-sharing system on the back side of the dunes

- By Dr. Steven Y. Newell, Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia/former Director of Marine Institute at Sapelo Island [synewell@yahoo.com], and Mindy Egan, Co-Director, the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island [degan@igc.org]