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Friday, August 16, 2013 - 3:45am

Ga. Loggerhead Nesting Exceeds Record

State officials say that loggerhead sea turtles nesting in Georgia have topped last year's record.

Mark Dodd is the sea turtle program coordinator with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Dodd said this week that nesting on barrier island beaches have already reached 2,243, which is more than the 2,141 nests last year.

Dodd says it's a new record for the fourth straight year. Nest totals for the federally threatened reptiles have been climbing steadily since 2009.

Dodd credits the recovery to conservation measures but adds the current numbers are still short of federal recovery benchmarks, which is a 2 percent annual increase for 50 years resulting in a statewide total of 2,800 nests annually.

Nesting season is nearly over and the final numbers will be available in the fall.