Volusia County, FL - It's been a banner year for sea turtle nests in Volusia County, according to Sea Turtle Habitat Conservation Plan Manager Jennifer Winters. She says that 922 nests have already been marked by county staff and volunteers, breaking the previous record of 919 set in 2012.
The largest portion of the nests found, 849, are loggerheads. Green sea turtle nests are next with 66 found. Four leatherback and three Kemp's ridley nests were also found, making that grand total of 922. Each nest contains around 100 soft-shelled eggs the size of Ping-Pong balls. Winters said that since the turtle nesting season continues through the end of September, the number of nests could reach 1000.
Winters said, "This is truly an exceptional year, and we think it’s because of
the long-term conservation efforts that are in place to protect these threatened and endangered species.” She wants the volunteers who have spent time on the beaches everyday marking new nests and checking existing nests to know they are appreciated. Winters also wants to thank the beachgoers doing their share by picking up litter, reducing light pollution and removing beach furniture each day.
Sea turtle nesting season rules are still in effect, 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.