You can help protect sea turtles during nesting season
Beach residents, visitors asked to take steps to protect endangered species
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – It's nesting season for sea turtles, and many of the endangered or threatened species live along the beaches of St. Johns County.
Officials are asking residents, visitors and businesses to obey all nesting season laws and regulations to help protect the sea turtle's fragile natural habitat.
Sea turtle nesting season began May 1 and lasts through Oct.31. During that time, vehicular traffic on the beach is allowed only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
In addition, all beachfront properties are required to reduce their impact by eliminating all interior and exterior lights, which may disrupt nesting sea turtles.
Volley court lights at St. Johns County Pier Park will turn on at sunset and off by 9 p.m. during the nesting season.
Beach visitors can also have a positive impact on nesting sea turtles by taking the following actions at the beach:
- Refrain from using fireworks and open fires
- Remove ruts and fill in holes left by vehicles and sand castle building.
- Remove all chairs, umbrellas or canopies from the beach before dark.
- Avoid entering sand dunes and conservation zones that are 15 feet seaward of dunes.
- Refrain from using balloons, as they can fall into the ocean and harm marine life.
- Never approach sea turtles emerging from or returning to the sea.
- Never push an injured animal back into the ocean.
If you see an sick, injured or dead sea turtle, you're asked to call the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office at 904-824-8304.
Nesting sea turtles are vulnerable, timid and can easily be frightened away.
Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.