Did you know that Sea Turtle Nesting Season is currently in its final months? This crucial time period for Surfside’s most popular marine animal comes to a close at the end of October. Nesting season in Surfside typically takes place between May 1 and October 31 although nests in the South Florida region have even been spotted as early as March. That’s because our beach serves as a vital nesting area for these creatures and other wildlife.
Despite increased shoreline activity compared to previous summers, through early September, a total of 23 turtle nests have been spotted – two are currently active while 21 have already hatched. Surfside usually averages 22 nests per season, which means that with more than six weeks of season remaining, 2021 is on track to be an above-average season!
Help Protect Sea Turtles and Their Habitats
It is important to keep in mind that South Florida’s beaches are shared with these beautifully unique creatures. Though sea turtles are resilient, their environment can be easily impacted by humans, and that is why Surfside has adopted specific measures in the Town Code for sea turtle protection.
Two Ways to Directly Help Sea Turtles
1. Sea Turtles are Attracted to Light
Did you know that sea turtles are often distracted and disturbed by light? Many just-hatched sea turtles don’t make it to the ocean because they get distracted by man-made light disturbances. To prevent this, Surfside prohibits tiki torches, bonfires, flashlights, flash photography and fireworks on the beach. If you’re on the beach in the evening, please follow the Town ordinance and do not use of flashlights, lanterns or flash photography while on the beach during nesting season.
2. Sea Turtles are Susceptible to Ocean Litter
Remove all items, such as beach chairs and trash, from the beach at night. This not only helps keep the beach clean for everyone to enjoy, but it also keeps paths to and from sea turtle nests free from debris and litter so they can come and go unencumbered.
Sea Turtle Conservation Efforts
To help keep our oceans free from litter than directly affect sea turtle health, Surfside has implemented a plastic straw ban and prohibited the distribution, sale or use of polystyrene food service articles by food service providers and stores is prohibited in Surfside. If you see plastic straws, single-use plastic items or Styrofoam materials in the Surfside area, please help placing the items in the proper trash bin and notify town officials.
Surfside’s commitment to protecting sea turtles is further emphasized in an information display console located within the Turtle Walk. Highlighting the colorful art exhibition, this information console also explains the Town’s conservation efforts. In 2019, the Town unveiled ‘The Adventures of Surfy the Surfside Sea Turtle,’ an educational children’s coloring book created to outline the survival challenges that these beautiful creatures face.
Want to make sure you’re doing the most you can to help our four-flippered neighbors? View our Sea Turtle Safety Pamphlet.
What to do if You See a Sea Turtle
The Town of Surfside takes many measures to make sure our sea turtles are in an environment that allows them to thrive. You can help make all the difference! If you see a sea turtle while on the beach, do not touch or disturb it, just observe from afar.
If it appears to be injured, sick or dead, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) at 1.888.404.FWCC or the Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Conservation Program at 305.310.3046 and notify local Town officials.