Sea Turtle Conservation

Saving our coastal environments one turtle at a time.

SEA TURTLES…

…are large marine reptiles that have roamed the seas for millions of years.  Today, five species utilize Florida’s sandy beaches and biologically rich marine habitats.  These species include the loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and kemp’s ridley. Although turtles have been using these habitats for generations, over the last century, populations have declined due to many human activities.  As a result, all species  were designated as either threatened or endangered under the U.S. endangered species act in the early 1970’s.

Florida Sea Turtles

Loggerhead

Green

Leatherback

Hawksbill

Kemp’s Ridley

Are Sea Turtles Endangered?

It has been over 40 years since sea turtles were listed under the endangered species act and since then we have begun to see exponential increases in their nesting numbers. This is of course the consequences of fisheries management, coastal light management, predatory control programs, beach management to provide suitable reproductive habitat and community involvement to keep our coastal habitats clean and healthy. Part of Coastal Connections Inc.’s mission is to continue this successful recovery by connecting more people to wildlife through our educational interactive sea turtle encounters and community conservation programs.

Our Sea Turtle Programs

Part of Coastal Connections Inc.’s mission is to continue this successful recovery by connecting more people to wildlife through our educational interactive sea turtle encounters and community conservation programs.

Turtle Digs:

During nesting season, you can see hundreds of nests marked off with yellow signs, red stakes, and orange ribbon along the beach signifying sea turtle nests. Data collected from nest evaluations allows decision makers to understand how well the beaches are incubating sea turtle nests, and if these nests are experiencing any impacts that can be managed more efficiently. You can receive a small presentation about sea turtle biology, threats to their survival, and ways to help protect turtles, all while standing only a few feet away from a nest evaluation conducted by the County Sea Turtle Program staff and CCinc volunteers. If any straggler hatchlings are found during the excavation, guests will then get to watch them be released into the ocean at the end of the dig. These Turtle Dig experiences will take place:

  • Months: July and August
  • Date: 3 days after a nest hatches
  • Time: 8am
  • Location: Sexton Plaza in Vero Beach, FL

Adopt-A-Nest:

Please support Coastal Connections Inc by adopting a sea turtle nest. Your adoption directly benefits the continued effort of protecting our sea turtles by providing educational interactive experiences. If your adopted nest hatches in July or August it may even be used for a public Turtle Dig. With your adoption you will receive an official adoption certificate and the reproductive results of that nest and depending on the adoption package you choose, you may get some extra special gifts.

Turtle Releases:

CCinc partners with IRC to rescue sick and injured sea turtles along the County’s coast. These turtles are taken to multiple rehabilitation facilities all over the State of Florida. When these turtles are fully healed and healthy they become releasable and many times get to come back to IRC to return back home. CCinc works with many partners to organize free educational public turtle releases so everyone can hear about the amazing recovery story from each of our rescued turtles. Dates and locations for releases are decided by FWC and announced only days before the release event. 

Our Turtle-Friendly Business Partners:

This program began almost three years ago under the umbrella of Indian River County’s Habitat Conservation Plan for Sea Turtles. This small voluntary incentive program encourages beachfront businesses to pledge to meet turtle friendly standards during sea turtle nesting season (Mar 1-Oct 31). Some of these standards include:

  • Promote local sea turtle activities
  • Provide educational materials
  • Keep beaches clean and natural
  • Follow the lighting ordinance
  • Prevent obstructions to nesting

In return, these businesses receive first notice of any sea turtle interaction programs occurring throughout the summer in IRC and also appears in multiple local press releases. Over the years, interest in the program grows and each business does a phenomenal job keeping up their turtle friendly standards and bringing personality to the program. A recap of major successes from this program include: adding paper straw options, adding educational beach access signs, retrofitting property lighting, and adding fun turtle activity displays in hotel lobbies. We encourage you to support and visit the 2018 Turtle Friendly Businesses

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A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free (800-435-7352) within the State. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State.