A sea turtle nest located ¼ mile south of Shenanigan’s All Hands Club on Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), hatched on the evening of 19 July 2016. Tracks were discovered leading from the nest to the ocean on the afternoon of 20 July 2016 and at least two more distinct fresh sets of tracks were identified on the morning of 21 July 2016, indicating late hatchlings. The nest is possibly that of a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas).
PMRF Installation Environmental Program Director (IEPD) John Nelson and Rebecca Johnson along with a state biologist from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources (DLNR DAR) plan to excavate the nest on the afternoon of 23 July 2016. The nest will be excavated for two reasons: (1) Turtle hatchlings can remain trapped underground, unable to dig to the surface and (2) Biologists can collect information on the nest such as determining the number of hatchlings released by counting egg shells, or collecting egg shell samples to perform DNA analysis to link the nest to a certain female in the population.
PMRF Security personnel found the nest on May 25 during a routine beach survey and reported their finding to Environmental Wildlife Technician, Rachel Herring. Herring worked with Jason Shimauchi, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services installing a fence line around the nest to protect it from pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The nest hatched at 57 days, just shy of the 60-day average seen in Hawaii.
Sea turtles are frequently seen basking at the outpouring of Nohili Ditch, also known as “Turtle Cove” on the north side of PMRF as well as in other areas around the base. PMRF is an ideal location for nesting turtles due to its expansive miles of relatively intact, unpopulated sandy beaches, low vehicle traffic and nighttime activity. In 2015, seven nests produced a total of 468 sea turtle hatchlings.
PMRF works closely with federal and state agencies, schools, conservation organizations, the public and the host community to implement groundbreaking initiatives towards conservation, environmental protection and the protection of endangered species. PMRF is the recipient of the 2015 Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Award as well as the 2015 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award for its achievements in environmental stewardship.