Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's sea turtle nesting season

Sea turtle nesting season is May 1 through October 31. During that time, Brevard County will be blessed with several thousand sea turtles making their way to our shores to scoop out nests in the sand, lay their eggs, and return to the ocean. Towards the end of June, hatchlings will begin to emerge from the nests and orient themselves toward the brightest visible horizon in an attempt to find the sea. A recent article in our local newspaper, Florida Today, noted "Lights from beachfront structures that shine or reflect onto the beach disrupt this instinctive process and disorient the hatchlings, causing them to crawl toward the artificial light instead of crawling to the sea. Brevard County and the beachfront municipalities have lighting ordinances in place to regulate beachfront lights. County code enforcement officers actively patrol the unincorporated beaches during nesting season to ensure compliance."

Residents and visitors alike should take extra care to follow the basic rules - close drapes of beachside windows at night, no flashlights or flash photography on the beach, shield or turn off beachside lights, limit night walks on the beach, and stay away from turtles, nests, and hatchlings.

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