Marine-turtle nesting season began in March on Florida beaches from Brevard through Broward counties, although two leatherbacks laying their eggs in late February got a head start. May 1 marks the official start in other coastal counties.
This year, Florida’s nesting sea turtles face specific challenges due to the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy, which slammed the Atlantic coast last October, and Tropical Storm Debby, which hit the Gulf coast in June 2012.
“The impact of two strong storms last year and the resulting beach re-nourishment and repairs have altered many Florida beaches where sea turtles nest,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who is responsible for sea turtle management at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Changes in the coastal landscape, such as a shallower strip of sandy beach or an unnatural profile, can make it more challenging for sea turtles to successfully lay their eggs and produce hatchlings,” she said.
The FWC reminds beachgoers that it is illegal to disturb sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings. The loggerhead is listed as a federally threatened species, and the leatherback and green turtle are federally endangered species. State law restricts things like beach renourishment and repairs on structures such as seawalls during nesting season, which continues through October.
To help conserve sea turtles, people can donate $5 and receive a sea turtle decal. Head to FWC's website by clicking here.