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New Sea Turtle Signs Will Educate the Public
DATE: April 8, 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Courtney Kiel
Environmental Planning and Community Resilience
PHONE: 954-519-1255

BROWARD COUNTY, FL - The Sea Turtle Conservancy has awarded Broward County a grant to create and install permanent informational sea turtle signs at heavily-used public beach access locations throughout the County. Participating municipalities helped the County select the locations for the informational signs which will be installed April 26-27, 2016.

The English and Spanish signs will be a helpful source of public information and will promote safe sea turtle practices. Educating the public about Florida's sea turtles will promote a better interaction between humans and these magnificent creatures.

Florida's beaches are especially important to loggerhead sea turtles. They serve as nesting grounds for approximately 80 percent of the global population and 90 percent of the US population. Green sea turtles concentrate their nesting activity along the southeast coast of Florida and in 2013, Broward County supported a record setting year for this species.  Leatherbacks, the rarest species of sea turtle, nest almost exclusively on the east coast of Florida.  Broward's beaches support vital nesting grounds for all three species.

These informational signs were funded in part by a grant from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. For more information on how to help create a more sustainable environment for sea turtles, contact the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program at 954-519-1255.

Key messages on the signs include:

Turn off or cover any lights visible from the beach
  • Coastal lighting can deter a mother from nesting, and if a female is unable to nest after multiple attempts, she will resort to less favorable spots or may even deposit her eggs directly into the ocean. Hatchlings are also impacted as they scurry out of the sand toward the brightest light, an instinct that served them well when the brightest lights were the reflections of moonlight and stars on the ocean. Today, artificial lights from restaurants, hotels and streets draw them inland where they end up exhausted and trapped in sewers or impacted by other manmade structures.
Remove all trash and beach furniture when you leave
  • It is estimated that there are 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world. Plastic bags, bottles, balloons, degraded buoys, packaging materials, and food wrappers all contribute to the debris that could be ingested by marine animals. Many sea turtles have been killed by consuming this debris. Additionally, plastic bags closely resemble jellyfish which is the main staple of the leatherback sea turtles' diet.
  • Beach furniture should be removed whenever possible as it can entrap nesting mothers and hatchlings. Additionally, beach furniture and other recreational equipment (e.g. cabanas, umbrellas, and small boats) can reduce nesting success by deterring a nesting mother.
Fill in any holes in the sand
  • Deep crevices in the sand can extend the time it takes a hatchling to reach the ocean making it more susceptible to predators or exhaustion. If the hole is severe enough it can even entangle or trap a hatchling, mother, or human.
Do not touch or disturb turtles, nests or hatchlings
  • It is against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, nests, and hatchlings as they are protected by both the Federal Endangered Species Act and the Florida Marine Protection Act. Violators could potentially face fines and jail time. 
Observe nesting females from a distance and do not  interfere with their return to the ocean
  • It is very exciting to see a turtle on the beach! It is important to give nesting mothers enough space and privacy to safely and successfully lay their eggs by keeping your distance on the landward side of activity and avoid shining lights or taking flash photos.
Call 1-888-404-3922 or 954-328-0580 for more information or to report injured or dead sea turtles
  • Broward County supports a conservation program that will respond to any sea turtle emergency. These numbers are monitored annually on a 24-hour basis.
About Environmental Planning and Community Resilience
Broward County's Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division protects, restores and enhances the quality, abundance and diversity of the County's natural resources through coordinated management efforts in five areas: water resource policy and planning, urban and natural lands management, beach and marine resources, energy and sustainability, and environmental monitoring. For more information call 954-519-1270, visit our website or follow us on Twitter