Newly designed signs warning drivers of turtles trying to cross Route 1, between Dewey Beach and Fenwick Island, have been installed.
Local businessman Ed Martin said he volunteered to hang the signs after reading a recent story in the Cape Gazette about how the signs hadn’t been installed in time for the beginning of terrapin nesting season.
Every summer, from the end of May to the end of July, female terrapins from Coastal Delaware’s Inland Bays lay their eggs. Some dig holes on the bays’ beaches, but many attempt to cross Route 1 to lay their eggs in the dunes on the ocean side of the highway.
The warning signs, taken down each fall then reinstalled in the spring, have been a fixture of the highway since the early 2000s. This year, as of the first week of June, a new set of signs had not been put back up.
Less than 48 hours after reading the story, Martin and a small crew met at the Center for the Inland Bays to hang the signs – two on each side of the Indian River Inlet. In all, including when two signs slid off Martin’s trailer and had to be ratcheted back down, installation took about two hours.
Near the end, Martin, who owns Arena Signs and Ad Boat, noted it’s not just cars the turtles have to worry about. Foxes come in here and eat the eggs, he said, pointing to a freshly dug hole and the discarded shells sitting nearby.
Amy Barra, Delaware Center for the Inland Bays outreach and education coordinator, thanked Martin for stepping up. The signs are up and they look great, she said.