Although the Tampa Bay area was largely spared the wrath of Hurricane Dennis, threatened loggerhead sea turtles and least terns that nest in the area did suffer negative impacts from the storm.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) Sea Turtle Patrol, which monitors Pinellas County Beaches during sea turtle nesting season, had marked 71 nests this season prior to the storm. By Monday, July 11, they stated that 10 of those nests had completely washed away.
Another 50 suffered wash over as a result of Hurricane Dennis and were unlikely to hatch. Only seven nests remain unharmed.
Fortunately, sea turtle nesting season is not over, and turtles continue to come ashore to nest. The Turtle Patrol discovered three new nests last night, bringing the count of viable nests to 10.
Unlike the sea turtles, the colony of least terns nesting on CMA