Turtles could see beach construction crews in May - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Turtles could see beach construction crews in May

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) – Sea turtles swimming ashore in Carolina Beach could find some unexpected bumps in the sand in the next month.

Bad weather and mechanical delays have caused the contractor for the Army Corps of Engineers, Weeks Marine, to fall behind schedule on its beach renourishment projects.

Crews should be in Carolina Beach, but they're still finishing dredging sand in Wilmington Harbor and unloading in on Bald Head Island, according to USACE project manager Bob Keistler.

The delay caused the corps to ask the state for an extension, which includes provisions to protect wildlife. Keistler said more time was approved because the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project agreed to patrol the beach a month ahead of schedule.

Nancy Busovne, Director of PISTP, said volunteers have been on the lookout since April 1 this year. The group works with law enforcement and state agencies to keep turtles, their nests and their eggs safe in local sand.

She said volunteers will keep their eyes on the beach renourishment crews when they arrive in Carolina Beach. Turtles aren't usually spotted on the beach until mid-May, but Busovne said volunteers will be working closely with workers from Weeks Marine as they move down the coast.

"This way, we can move any nests we get into a safe spot," she said.

There is a chance approaching turtles will steer clear of the construction site, because of all the lights and noise.

"I'm hoping when they see all the bright lights that they'll go down the beach," Busovne said.

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