US

Rare sea turtles pass 50-year recovery milestone in Georgia

  • In this 2016 photo made available by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, a loggerhead trail leads to a nest on Cumberland Island, Ga. Rare loggerhead sea turtles have reached a conservation milestone on the coast of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says more than 2,890 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been counted this summer on beaches along the state's 100-mile coast. (Laura Buckmaster/Georgia Department of Natural Resources via AP)

    In this 2016 photo made available by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, a loggerhead trail leads to a nest on Cumberland Island, Ga. Rare loggerhead sea turtles have reached a conservation milestone on the coast of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says more than 2,890 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been counted this summer on beaches along the state's 100-mile coast. (Laura Buckmaster/Georgia Department of Natural Resources via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this 2016 photo, made available by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Avery Young, left, and Melissa Fry, relocate a sea turtle nest to a more protected site on Cumberland Island, Ga. Rare loggerhead sea turtles have reached a conservation milestone on the coast of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says more than 2,890 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been counted this summer on beaches along the state's 100-mile coast. (Georgia Department of Natural Resources via AP)

    In this 2016 photo, made available by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Avery Young, left, and Melissa Fry, relocate a sea turtle nest to a more protected site on Cumberland Island, Ga. Rare loggerhead sea turtles have reached a conservation milestone on the coast of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says more than 2,890 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been counted this summer on beaches along the state's 100-mile coast. (Georgia Department of Natural Resources via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Rare loggerhead sea turtles have reached a conservation milestone on the coast of Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says more than 2,890 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been counted this summer on beaches along the state's 100-mile coast. That's not only a new record for Georgia; it surpasses the state's long-term goal of reaching 2,800 nests by the year 2028 — 50 years after the federal government listed the species as threatened.

Mark Dodd, the biologist who coordinates Georgia's sea turtle recovery program, said Friday that "we never thought we'd get here this quickly." He said a decade ago Georgia averaged about 1,000 nests per year.

State wildlife agencies in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina also are reporting strong nesting seasons for loggerhead sea turtles.