Beachgoers urged to take precautions to protect sea turtle nests

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Sea turtle nesting season is officially under way in St. Johns County through Oct. 31. Residents, visitors, and businesses are asked to help protect natural sea turtle habitats by observing all nesting season laws and regulations.

Vehicular beach traffic is only allowed from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. All beachfront properties must reduce their impact by eliminating interior and exterior lights that may disrupt nesting sea turtles. Volleyball court lights at St. Johns County Ocean Pier Park will turn on at sunset and turn off at 9 p.m. during sea turtle nesting season.

Beachgoers can also have a positive impact on nesting sea turtles by taking the following precautions:

  • Refrain from using fireworks and open fires.
  • Remove ruts and sandcastles.
  • Flashlights are strongly discouraged as they can harm sea turtles.
  • Avoid entering dunes and conservation zones (15 feet seaward of the dune line).
  • Refrain from releasing balloons or sky lanterns, 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.
  • Leave only your footprints at the beach.

Never push an injured animal back into the ocean. If an injured, sick or deceased sea turtle is located, call the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency dispatch line at 904-824-8304.

For more information, call St. Johns County Habitat Conservation and Beach Management at 904-209-3740 or go to sjcfl.us/hcp.

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