Beach activities can have a negative impact on the lives of nesting sea turtles, along with hatchlings and incubating egg clutches. The biggest threat is human use of nesting beaches, as it can disturb the nesting females and prevent them from laying their eggs. Moreover, human’s night-time activities often prevent sea turtles from emerging on the beach.
Human activity can also stop the females from nesting and go back to the water. Similarly, the recreational equipment you bring to the beach reduces the success of nesting and increases the chances of false crawls. Beach furniture is exceptionally troublesome for sea turtles, especially with reports that nesting females often become trapped inside of them.
Beach driving also affect the sea turtles and negatively impact their nesting places as it disturbs the nesting females, crush hatchlings or disorient the newly emerged ones. It can also cause sand compaction over the nests reducing the nests’ success. More importantly, it can contribute to beach erosion, particularly on narrow beaches or during high tides.
The easiest way to prevent beach erosion is to increase the beach’s nourishment. The nourishment of the beach includes trucking, pumping or depositing of sand on the beach, which often gets lost due to erosion. Beach nourishment or replacing the nourishment can help restore the shore. However, it hurts sea turtles when the sand becomes too compacted.
When that happens, sea turtles find it hard to nest in. On the other hand, the imported sand’s difference to the natural beach sediments can also potently impact the nesting site. It can affect the turtle’s digging behavior, the nest’s moisture content as well as incubation temperature. Furthermore, if you nourished the beach during nesting season, the nests can be run over by machinery or buried far underneath.
The dredging procedure when restoring the eroded beach also has a direct impact on sea turtles and other marine animals. The US has many cases of hopper dredges sucking up the nesting sand of sea turtles, accidentally catching them and causing their death. If the imported sand is also too fine, it only washes back and covers the rocky shore habitats of sea turtles and other marine species.
The only way to prevent this is to ensure the proper way of conducting the nourishment of the eroded beach. Beach nourishment must be done according to the laws protecting sea turtles as well as other natural resources. You should also take note of different ways to prevent erosion and restore the beach that will not mainly affect the lives of sea turtles.
Concerning human’s beach activities that affect the sea turtles, the solution is prevention. Humans should refrain from driving on nesting beaches, refill the holes dug up while on the beach and remove any furniture used. As much as possible, avoid doing things that will disturb sea turtles when you are visiting the beach. This way, you can also prevent beach erosion and therefore increase the chances of sea turtle’s success.