June 16, 2021
It’s World Sea Turtle Day!
Right now is a big time in the world of Florida’s sea turtles!
Unbeknownst to them, today is World Sea Turtle Day, but this time of year also marks an occasion that they’re probably a bit more familiar with: nesting season.
With a nesting season that lasts from March – October, we are near the midway point of this year’s egg-laying extravaganza, with our very own Dry Tortugas National Park being a hot spot of activity. The beaches at Dry Tortugas have the highest nesting density of turtles in all of Florida!
This collection of small sand and coral islands is famous for the abundance of sea turtles that annually nest in the area. Five species of sea turtle are found in the waters of South Florida and all five species are now listed as either threatened or endangered.
Here at The Alliance for Florida’s National Parks, we understand the necessary role that sea turtles play in having a healthy and vibrant Florida and we currently provide funding in two areas at Dry Tortugas in support of our state’s sea turtles.
This year, we have funded an intern from the University of Miami to live on Loggerhead Key and monitor daily sea turtle activity for six months. At least 10-20 turtles attempt nesting per day during peak season. Because of this density, beaches need to be observed on a daily basis to distinguish between false crawls and true nesting activity.
The park estimates that anywhere from 100 to 400 nests per year were being missed due to insufficient observations. The placement of this intern will allow the park to collect more accurate and robust data on its sea turtle nesting numbers.
The Alliance also provides funding for debris removal from reefs and beaches within Dry Tortugas National Park. The coral reefs and beaches at Dry Tortugas are littered with derelict traps, rope, all types of plastic, and other debris. These manmade items harm sea turtles, seabirds, and reef resources by crushing, breaking, smothering reef structure and organisms, obstructing nesting habitat, and interfering with foraging.
Conducting beach clean-ups and removing debris at such a remote location is not easy and the cost is too much for the park to incur through its governmental budget, so the funding provided by The Alliance is crucial in keeping these shorelines clean.
Your donation to The Alliance allows us to continue supporting Florida’s national parks and protecting our state’s native wildlife, like these endangered and threatened sea turtles.
Please donate today to keep these animals safe, our beaches clean, and our state healthy.