Volusia County, FL - A banner year for sea turtle nests in Volusia County is broken by the rough seas of Hurricane Dorian. Though the hurricane did not come too close to our coastline, the storm surge took its toll. Jennifer Winters, Sea Turtle Habitat Conservation Plan Manager for Volusia County, said the count prior to September 1 was 985 nests. The previous record was 919 nests in 2012.
Winters said volunteers and county staff checked all the nests that had been counted and found that about 300 of them were destroyed or the eggs were drowned by the storm surge. With that many nests being affected, thousands of eggs and almost developed hatchlings disappeared. Some hatchlings were saved.
Sea turtle nesting season rules are still in effect through the end of October, according to Winters. She reminds everyone that touching or disturbing any sea turtle nest is against the law. Also, leave the beach as you found it, flattening sand castles, filling holes and taking litter and beach furniture with you. If you live on beachfront property, you’re required to turn off, shield or redirect lights so they don’t shine on the beach.
One more reminder from Winters: if you see a nesting sea turtle or hatchling making their way to the ocean, please admire them from a distance. If a turtle or nest appears to be in danger, contact a lifeguard or call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922.
You can find out more about sea turtle nesting season in Volusia County by visiting volusia.org/seaturtles.