Sea turtle nesting season begins March 1 on Florida’s east coast. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) patrols 9.8 miles of beach in Juno Beach, Jupiter and Tequesta, where 12% of the state’s sea turtle nests were laid last year. The organization’s team of biologists, surveys the beaches each morning during nesting season, from March 1 to October 31, counting crawls and nests, and documenting hatch success for the three species of sea turtles that nest on local beaches: greens, leatherbacks, and loggerheads.
Here are some nesting season “Do’s & Don’ts”
• Throw away foreign objects and debris left behind on the beach
• Fill in holes in the sand which may obstruct a sea turtle’s path to and from the ocean
• Observe a nesting sea turtle from a distance from behind
• Look out for disoriented hatchlings on trails and roads near the beach
• Keep your Lights Out near the beach or install sea turtle-friendly lighting
• Bring weak or confused hatchlings to LMC
• Don’t interact with or disrupt a nesting sea turtle
• Don’t use lighting on the beach at night including flash photography
• Don’t touch hatchlings on their way to the ocean
• Don’t take any action for empty egg shells, or exposed, un-hatched eggs
• Don’t harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings
• Don’t use shovels to dig on the beach during nesting season
On 9.8 miles of beach in Juno, Jupiter, and Tequesta in 2011, Loggerhead Marinelife Center biologists counted:
• 23,349 sea turtle crawls
• 9,856 total nests
• 7,674 loggerhead nests
• 1,904 green nests
• 278 leatherback nests
• 125 individual leatherbacks encountered
• 466 individual leatherbacks tagged since 2001
Biologists estimate over 1,000,000 eggs were produced and over 400,000 hatchlings reached the water on that same 9.8 mile stretch of shore.
What is your favorite species of Sea Turtle? Comment below.