By: Erick Gill, St. Lucie County Director of Communications
June 16, 2021
Residents and visitors are reminded that the sea turtle nesting season takes place from March 1 through Nov. 15. There are three species of marine turtles that nest here annually: Green, Loggerhead and Leatherback. All are endangered or threatened species.
As beachgoers head out to enjoy St. Lucie County’s 21 miles of pristine coastline, here a few essential steps to help save sea turtles.
· Put your Stuff Away – Remove all unattended beach furniture and other items from the beach at night. This ensures that hatchlings don’t get caught up on their way to the ocean and your possessions aren’t taken out to sea. Marine turtle adults and hatchlings have died from entanglement in beach furniture. Furthermore, all garbage should be picked up and removed from the beaches.
· Tear Down the Sand Castles and Fill in the Holes – Sandcastles are fun to build but can become deadly traps for sea turtle hatchlings. Be sure to tear them down and fill in any holes before leaving the beach, including holes dug by dogs at Walton Rocks Beach: St. Lucie County’s only dog-friendly beach, located at 6700 South Ocean Drive.
· Turn off the Lights – Businesses and residents living on the island should turn off any light sources (from buildings or flashlights) that are directly visible from the beach or seaward of the primary dune between sunset and sunrise.
St. Lucie County takes marine turtle protection seriously. Please do not handle marine turtles, their hatchlings, or their eggs. Disturbing marine turtles or their nests is a violation of State and Federal laws and carries criminal penalties. To report marine turtle nest poaching, hatchling disorientations, harassment, or dead marine turtles, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC.
Information is available for residents and visitors with questions about marine turtle-related issues. The UF/IFAS St. Lucie County Extension has general information and educational materials about marine turtles. For additional information, visit the Extension Office’s website at http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/stlucieco/2021/02/04/sea-turtle-2021 or call St. Lucie County Building & Code Regulation Manager Monica Graziani at 772-462-1599.