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Sea turtle nesting season begins May 1: How you can help

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Underway

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The beaches of St. Johns County are home to several species of endangered or threatened sea turtles.

Residents and visitors can protect these creatures and their vulnerable nesting sites as they return each season to nest along the beaches.

Sea turtle nesting season begins May 1, and St. Johns County officials are asking residents, visitors, and businesses to help protect natural habitat by observing all nesting season laws and regulations.

All beachfront properties are required to reduce their impact by eliminating interior and exterior lights which may disrupt nesting sea turtles. Volleyball court lights at St. Johns County Pier Park will turn on at sunset and turn off at 9 p.m. during this time.

Beach visitors can also have a positive impact on nesting sea turtles by taking the following actions while enjoying the beach:

  • Refrain from using fireworks and open fires.
  • Remove ruts and sandcastles.
  • Flashlights are strongly discouraged as they can harm sea turtles.
  • Avoid entering sand dunes and conservation zones (15 feet seaward of the dune line).
  • 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. Nesting sea turtles are vulnerable, timid, and can be easily frightened away.

Never push an injured animal back into the ocean. If an injured, sick, or deceased sea turtle is encountered, please call the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency dispatch line at 904-824-8304.

Leave only your footprints, providing the turtles with a safe and clean habitat in which to nest and hatch.

St. Johns County officials said they are grateful to volunteers, residents, visitors and businesses for supporting habitat conservation efforts and keeping the beaches beautiful.

For more information, call St. Johns County Habitat Conservation and Beach Management at 904-209-3740 or visit www.sjcfl.us/hcp.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.