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FWC wants beachgoers to help sea turtles this nesting season

Posted at 12:29 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 11:01:19-04

SARASOTA Co., Fla. (WWSB) -- March is the beginning of Florida's sea turtle nesting season and people can help by leaving the beach as natural as possible.

On the Gulf Coast, it might start later in April and May but beachgoers should start to remove beach furniture and other obstacles before sunset each day.

"Anyone spending time on Florida's beaches can do something to help save Florida's threatened and endangered sea turtles. People's actions on the beach can have a positive impact on whether our loggerhead, leatherback, and green sea turtles nest successfully," said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who leads the FWC sea turtle management program. 

She also recommends that when you leave the beach at the end of the day to fill up any holes dug in the sand. New hatchlings can fall in the holes and become trapped. 
 
Trindell says, "Please be careful not to disturb nesting sea turtles by getting too close, shining lights on them or taking flash photos.”
 
On some of the beaches, nests are marked with a yellow sign and plastic tape, since sea turtles and their eggs are protected. The FWC volunteers will monitor beaches through October, which is the official end of sea turtle nesting season.
 
In the 2016 sea turtle nesting season, more than 120,000 loggerhead nests, more than 5,000 green turtle nests and over 1,000 leatherback nests were documented by the FWC.