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Nesting sea turtles set a new record in Volusia County.

Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 9:10PM

Nesting sea turtles set a new record in Volusia County.

Written by Kristen Schmutz

Belden Communications News



With just six weeks remaining until the conclusion of the 2023 Sea Turtle nesting season, the shores of Volusia County have witnessed an exceptional phenomenon as sea turtles have established an unprecedented number of nests. A staggering 1,482 nests have been documented on the beaches, shattering the previous record of 1,427 set last year. The tireless efforts of dedicated staff and volunteers have yielded a remarkable discovery, with more than 33,000 hatched eggshells counted since the inception of the nesting season in June.

As the nesting season reaches its pinnacle, the loggerhead sea turtles have taken the lead in this extraordinary journey, gracing Volusia County's beaches with 1,251 nests. Alongside them, green sea turtles have surged ahead, with 231 nests—a substantial leap from the previous record of 98. Turtle monitors have also observed five leatherback nests and four Kemp’s ridley nests.

As the sea turtle nests gradually give rise to new life, various hatchling sea turtles embark on an uncertain voyage toward the ocean, which is fraught with potential perils, including the disruptive influence of bright lights emanating from beachfront properties, as well as litter and cavities inadvertently left behind by beachgoers.

The issue of beachfront lighting assumes significance due to its potential to dissuade adult female sea turtles from nesting and disorient hatchlings, diverting them from their natural path towards the sea and inadvertently leading them towards roads or drainage systems. By embracing the practice of reorienting lights away from the beach and deactivating them when not required, inhabitants of beachfront properties can facilitate the guidance of nesting females and hatchlings using the natural luminance of the moon and stars, thus safeguarding them from harm.

Promoting the cause of sea turtle conservation, every individual can contribute to the preservation of these majestic creatures by adhering to the following recommendations when visiting the beach:

  • Refrain from disturbing sea turtles and their nests.
  • Exercise caution by avoiding traversal on delicate dune systems and native flora.
  • Limit the use of artificial lighting during nighttime hours.
  • Abstain from employing cell phones as sources of illumination at night.
  • Should illumination be necessary, opt for red LED flashlights, which are less disruptive to turtle vision.
  • When vacating the beach, eliminate potential obstacles by leveling sandcastles, filling holes, and removing chairs and equipment.
  • Dispose of waste and recyclables appropriately in designated containers.
  • Adhere to the prohibition of fireworks on Volusia County beaches.
  • When encountering nesting adult sea turtles or hatchlings on their journey to the ocean, maintain a respectful distance and observe silently. 

In case of imminent danger to a turtle, promptly notify a lifeguard, Beach Safety officer, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-3922, or communicate with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office at 386-248-1777, ext. 3, during nighttime hours. 

This nesting season is a testament to the dedication of those who tirelessly work to ensure the well-being of sea turtles and the delicate ecosystems they call home. Through collective effort and conscientious practices, we can positively impact these remarkable marine creatures and preserve their existence for generations.

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