HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — The Spartina Sea Turtle Stranding Response is gathering community members to join Hole Patrol, a new program to monitor Hilton Head Island beaches.

The Island Packet reports (http://bit.ly/2q0nLK2 ) the initiative comes as an increase in large sandcastles and holes on the beaches have caused “false crawls.” Spartina Sea Turtle Stranding Response Director Amber Kuehn describes this phenomenon as when a nesting sea turtle on the beach is startled into returning to the ocean without laying its eggs. The holes can also act as traps for the baby turtles.

The Hole Patrol will monitor nesting turtles and hatchlings every morning and report large holes and sandcastles to Kuehn, who will assign a volunteer to flatten them.

The first baby turtles are expected to hatch the first week of July.

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