September 2019
September Newsletter
Welcome to the second edition of our revitalized newsletter. These newsletters consist of updates about what's going on at the Friends of the Carr Refuge and Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Make sure to keep a look out each month to stay up to date on refuge happenings.

If you are not already a member, we invite you to join us today! Helping the Carr turtles is not the only benefit of membership. We plan "members only" events throughout the year and offer early registration to members for our Turtle Walks and Digs! Use the button below to learn about our various membership levels or make a one-time donation. Don't forget to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram!
Proposal to Allow Dogs on Beach Rejected
A citizen proposal was made to allow dogs on an 11 mile stretch of beach in Brevard County, much of which is apart of the National Wildlife Refuge. After a petition was made with 3,000 plus signatures, the proposal was discussed at a Brevard County Commission meeting in August. The public was overwhelmingly opposed to this idea, and demonstrated so to the commissioners with phone calls and comments against the proposal. County Commissioners had a united front against the proposal, and turned it down without a formal vote.

Although we count ourselves among those who love dogs, we do not want them on the beaches in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Among the many reasons, the most important one is outlined in the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the refuge. The CCP states that dogs are incompatible with sea turtles, a federally protected species. Refuge Manager Jeremy Edwardson told commissioners that "despite a county ordinance, we wouldn't be able to allow dogs on the beach within our managed lands."

We count this as a win, and appreciate our supporters and the public's work against the passing of this proposal!

A dog's tracks walking in, and around, a Green Sea Turtle nest at Bonsteel Park in Melbourne Beach.

Photo: Victoria Escandell
Guests watch 8 Loggerhead hatchlings make their way to the ocean. Released by Jean Cranton and Denise Kristiansen.

Photo: Victoria Escandell
Turtle Digs
We love having the opportunity to educate residents and visitors about the importance of conserving sea turtle populations and tracking nesting progress. Unfortunately Hurricane Dorian interfered with two of our Turtle Digs this year. We have high hopes that there will be a nest to excavate for our last dig of the season, on September 14th!

As always the registration for these events filled up quick, so we hope you were able to book a spot. If not, please keep us in mind for next year's nesting season and become a member to get early access to registration!

Nesting Counts
Green nests have officially surpassed the Loggerheads this season! However, Greens still have a long nesting season ahead of them and will pass their 2017 record of 17,000 nests in a couple days.

Green sea turtles have an unusual nesting behavior where they return from foraging to nest every 2 years, instead of every year. There is a trend on the Archie Carr NWR where every other year Green's have broken their previous nesting record. This is wonderful news for the recovery of these species! Any turtle nesting now, would have been born around the 1980s, proof of the importance of the Endangered Species Act!!
Each week, Friends of the Carr Refuge Board Member Vince Lamb compiles the nest counts from the various groups who monitor our 20.5 miles of beach. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date!

An example of the erosion on the Archie Carr NWR. This scarp was estimated to be 4-6+ feet high.

Photo: Erin Seney, UCF MTRG
Hurricane Dorian
Are you wondering what happens to sea turtles during hurricanes?

During a hurricane nests may be washed out, and hatchlings may be washed back ashore. If you find a "washback" on our coast please call FWC (888-404-3922), and do not put the hatchlings back in the ocean. They are most likely not strong enough to make the swim back out to the Sargussum line, and will need to re-gain their energy. Adult sea turtles are less likely to be impacted by the storm, but weak ones may become stranded on our shore and will need the same assistance from FWC. If you see an exposed nest, unfortunately there is nothing that can be done and it is best to leave it alone.

The main concern with Dorian was storm surge, especially with the king tides we were experiencing. This caused extensive beach erosion on the refuge and will subsequently impact the nests that have not yet hatched.

UCF MTRG is still assessing nest loss on the refuge. They will determine the extent of erosion, fates of marked nests, the number of nests already hatched, and the number of nests that were impacted. This will take them awhile and we are curious what they will find.
Hurricane Season
We are at the peak of hurricane season, so it is important to stay informed in case another one develops. Shown to the right are some refuge friendly hurricane tips to keep in mind when preparing for the season.

So you're all prepared, but want to know how to limit the impacts of hurricanes on coastal communities? Many communities are opting for "soft" solutions when protecting the coast after Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. "Hard" solutions, such as seawalls, sustained significant damage and provided little protection from erosion during the hurricane. Whereas "soft" solutions, such as living shorelines, provided better protection. Salt marshes are a type of living shoreline, they can act as giant sponges by absorbing wave energy and floodwaters.

Learn more about living shorelines and their importance for storm and flood protection in the link below!

Thank you to all our supporters thinking of the turtles this hurricane season! Follow these tips to be prepared in the event of another hurricane on our coast.
Celebration of life for Gail Meredith
Gail Meredith, a volunteer for the Friends of the Carr Refuge, passed away on September 3rd. We are very sad to hear of her passing.

Gail has volunteered with us since 2014 as a guide on our Turtle Walks, you may have seen her smiling face recently as a dispatcher. Her passion for the environment did not stop at sea turtles, she was also a big advocate for the lagoon. She helped at the Marine Resources Council, served on the board for the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition, and was recently involved in the "Trees for Life" program with Brevard County.

Many good memories were shared with Gail, and she will be missed by many in our Friends of the Carr Refuge family and the community.
Top: Gail Meredith advocating for the lagoon.

Bottom: Gail, second from the right, and other volunteers before conducting a Turtle Walk in July.

Photo's: Vince Lamb