By NewsLine Staff
mail@floridanewsline.com

The beaches of St. Johns County are home to several species of endangered or threatened sea turtles. 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.

Between May 1 and October 31, vehicular traffic on the beach is allowed between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. In addition, all beachfront properties are required to reduce their impact by eliminating interior and exterior lights which may disrupt nesting sea turtles.

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These measures are enacted to ensure compliance with the St. Johns County Habitat Conservation Plan and Incidental Take Permit. 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 fill in holes left by vehicles and sand castle building.
  • Please remove all chairs, umbrellas or canopies from the beach before dark. These items are subject to removal by county staff.
  • When using a flashlight on the beach, please use a flashlight filter. These free filters can be found at the Vilano walkover, the St. Johns County Pier and at street ends in St. Augustine Beach.
  • 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, 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.

Contact St. Johns County Habitat Conservation and Beach Management at (904) 209-3740 or visit www.sjcfl.us/hcp for more information.

 

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