Dear Hurricanes... - Oceana USA
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2008-09-04 00:00:00

Dear Hurricanes…

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…would you be so kind as to spare the sea turtles? We’d appreciate it.As Tropical Storm Hanna hurtles toward the Carolinas, ETA this weekend, with feisty-sounding Ike chasing along right behind her, let’s hope they have mercy on the turtles (and humans) in their path.I’m particularly concerned about this season’s storms because an upcoming project of mine hinges on them. What’s this mysterious project, you ask? Well, I was going to keep it a secret, but I’ve never been too good at that. So here’s the news: the week of September 13-20, I’ll be heading to my home state of North Carolina to follow around the folks at the Bald Head Island Conservancy in their efforts to protect loggerhead sea turtles. And I’ll be blogging about it, too.The idea, of course, is to catch a glimpse of some sea turtles peek out of their shells and make the perilous waddle to the sea. But as these storms swirl closer, I’m fretting that my chances of seeing turtle hatchlings are fading with my suntan.Turtle nests are often wiped out by the storms. And the strongest storms, according to a new study, are made even stronger as a result of climate change. And aside from getting washed away by storms, turtles are affected by climate change in other ways. For example, as beaches get warmer, a higher percentage of female turtles are born, setting off change in the population’s sex ratio. Plus, climate change affects ocean currents, which in turn affects turtles’ migration patterns.But before I prematurely declare my trip a wash, I should remember that Mother Nature is a tricky lady. Last week we recalled the anniversary of Katrina and the arrival of Gustav in New Orleans. The city braced for the worst, but Gustav strode through without delivering as fierce a blow as expected. Cross your fingers, and stay tuned for more on the upcoming sea turtle trip…