It’s that time of a year again as several species of endangered or threatened sea turtles begin nesting on St. Johns County beaches.
St. Johns County officials are asking residents, visitors and businesses to help protect the turtles' natural habitat by observing all nesting season laws and regulations.
All beachfront properties are required to reduce their impact by turning off interior and exterior lights, which may disrupt nesting sea turtles.
Volleyball court lights at St. Johns County Pier Park at St. Augustine Beach will turn on at sunset and turn off at 9 p.m. during this time.
The county said beach visitors can also have a positive impact on nesting sea turtles by taking the following actions:
- Refrain from using fireworks and open fires
- Remove ruts and sand castles at the end of the day
- Do not use flashlights after dark
- 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 you come across an injured, sick or deceased sea turtle, call the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency dispatch line at 904-824-8304.
Call the St. Johns County Habitat Conservation and Beach Management at 904-209-3740 or visit www.sjcfl.us/hcp for more info on the threatened and endangered sea animals.