St. Lucie County Reminds Residents, Visitors to Help Protect Sea Turtles

St. Lucie County Reminds Residents, Visitors to Help Protect Sea Turtles

HUTCHINSON ISLAND – St. Lucie County’s Code Compliance staff encourages residents to keep our beaches sea-turtle friendly this summer.

Residents, businesses and visitors can help sea turtles by taking a few important steps:

  • Reduce Lighting – Light sources (from buildings or flashlights) should not be visible from the beach or seaward of the primary dune between sunset and sunrise. This also includes walking down the beach with flashlights. Residents walking on the beach at night should use the moonlight. If they feel the need to use a light – they should use special “sea-turtle-friendly” flashlights and only use them sparingly. Outdoor retailers sell special “sea-turtle-friendly” flashlights for nighttime fishing or beach walks.
  • Ensure sea turtles have a safe path to the ocean – Sand castles are fun to build, but can become deadly traps for sea turtle hatchlings. Be sure to flatten them and fill in any holes before leaving the beach, including holes dug by dogs at Walton Rocks Beach: St. Lucie County’s only dog-friendly beach, located at 6700 South Ocean Drive.
  • Put your Stuff Away – Remove all unattended beach furniture and other items from the beach at night. This ensures that hatchlings don’t get caught up on their way to the ocean and your possessions aren’t taken out to sea. Marine turtle adults and hatchlings have died from entanglement in beach furniture.

There are three species of marine turtles that nest on the Treasure Coast annually: Green, Loggerhead and Leatherback. All are listed as endangered or threatened species.

St. Lucie County takes marine turtle protection seriously and was recently found to have one of the lowest hatchling disorientation rates in the state. Please do not handle marine turtles, their hatchlings or their eggs. Disturbing marine turtles or their nests is a violation of State and Federal laws and carries criminal penalties. To report marine turtle nest poaching, hatchling disorientations, harassment or dead marine turtles, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC.

Information is available for residents and visitors with questions about marine turtle-related issues.  The UF/IFAS St. Lucie County Extension has general information and educational materials about marine turtles.  For additional information, visit the Extension Office’s website at


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