By NewsLine Staff
Sea turtle nesting season is currently at its peak, with female turtles still nesting while hatchlings from older nests begin emerging. St. Johns County residents have a special opportunity and responsibility to protect these creatures and their vulnerable nesting sites as they return each season to nest along the beaches. St. Johns County officials are reminding residents, visitors and businesses to help protect natural habitat by observing the following actions while enjoying the beach:
• Refrain from using artificial light such as white lights from flashlights, camera flashes and cell phones. St. Johns County provides free red filters to place over flashlights at every beach access point within the City of St. Augustine Beach.
• Beachfront property owners and visitors are asked to turn off all exterior lights and cover windows to reduce interior light impacts at night.
• Fill in holes in the sand as they are hazardous to nesting females and hatchlings, which may become trapped while traversing the sand.
• Remove all chairs, umbrellas, tents, toys, coolers and other beach equipment to prevent disrupting the paths of nesting females and hatchlings.
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. Beach visitors are asked to never push an injured animal back into the ocean.
Visit St. Johns County Habitat Conservation and Beach Management online at www.sjcfl.us/hcp or call (904) 209-3740 for more information.
Photo courtesy Linda Hager