JUNO BEACH, Fla-- - Loggerhead Marinelife Center said this year’s sea turtle nesting season has seen a spike in the number of nests along South Florida beaches. The season lasts until October 1st but they’ve already reached the 10,000 mark.
“It’s rare that so many nests are recorded on such a small stretch of beach,” said field operations manager Adrienne McCracken.
Every morning, from May 1st through October 1st, McCracken walks a 9.5 mile stretch of beach in Juno Beach and Jupiter looking for sea turtle nests.
“We mark about 10 to 30 percent of the nests,” said McCracken.
McCracken said there’s a nest every 3 to 4 feet. However, instead of lining the beach with thousands of wooden stakes the team uses GPS technology to mark each location. The team also uses this technology to aid in various research projects.
“We are looking at the temperature the nests are incubating at and what sort of impacts that may have on the health of our sea turtles,” said McCracken.
Halfway into nesting season, the team has already recorded record numbers. There are 154 leatherback, 9,612 loggerhead and 369 green turtle nests within the 9.5-mile stretch.
“We are definitely seeing an increase overall in our population,” said McCracken.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center believes this trend is going to continue into the 2019 season. However, with the spike in numbers also comes the risk of more turtles being hit while trying to make it to shore.
“So if boaters can just watch where they are going, slow their speeds down and just be aware of their surroundings so they don’t hit any sea turtles,” said marketing manager Cassidy Pope.
The center also stresses the importance of picking up any trash you see on the beach and filling any holes so that the turtles have a clear path to the water.