Sea Turtle Program

Sea Turtle Program

Where should I report injured or Dead Sea Turtles to?

Please report injured or dead sea turtles by noting the exact location on beach, by street number or by the name of the property owner/condo to:

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center – (561) 338-1587

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)/Marine Research Institute – (561) 575-5407

FWC Law Enforcement – (888) 404-FWCC

Barbara James, Highland Beach Permit Holder – (561) 272-6496

If you encounter an injured or dead sea turtle, please report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Marine Research Institute at (561) 575-5407, or to the FWC Law Enforcement at (888) 404-FWCC.

For more information about how to contact the FWC about sea turtles or other animals, please visit the FWC website.

Additional information about how to help injured or dead sea turtles is available by viewing the following document:

Found an Injured or dead Sea Turtle

Are there sources of light that I may use during sea turtle nesting season?

There are a number of products on the market that are low-level, amber lighting that may be used as an alternative to traditional white lighting. These products are available at area home improvement stores. All beach-side property owners are encouraged to either turn out their lights, or install replacement low-level, amber lighting during turtle nesting season. The public’s cooperation is strongly encouraged.

As a resident on the beach side, how does the Town ordinance affect me?

The key to complying with the Town ordinance is that during this eight month period (March 1st through October 31st), from dusk to dawn, all external light sources (such as pool, deck, patio or security lighting) must not be visible from the beach, or may not illuminate directly or indirectly areas seaward of the crest of the sand dune vegetation.

When is sea turtle nesting season?

Sea turtle nesting season begins March 1st of each year and lasts until October 31st. (Ordinance # 554)

Overview
The roughly three mile stretch of beach in the Town of Highland Beach provides our residents with a place to relax and recreate. Our beaches also serve as critical nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles. From March 1 through October 31 each year, the turtles come to our shores and lay thousands of eggs in nests all along the beaches. Weeks later, the hatchlings burst from the sand and make their way to the sea.

Almost all nesting activity, as well as the emergence of the hatchlings from their nests, takes place at night. One of the biggest dangers to nesting females and hatchlings comes from beachfront lighting. Visible artificial light can deter females from nesting and also interfere with the hatchlings journey to the sea. The hatchlings are attracted to the source of brightest light, optimally; the reflection of natural light on the water, and the brightness of a spotlight, streetlight, or even a flashlight can confuse the hatchlings and misdirect them from their trek to the ocean, threatening their survival. Less than 1 in 1,000 sea turtles survive to adulthood.

Protecting the Sea Turtles
In Highland Beach, trained volunteers monitor the activity of sea turtles and mark nests on our beaches with wooden stakes. All residents are urged to assist in the protection of the turtles by:
  • Avoiding any potential nest areas that are marked by stakes, or tracks leading to, or from a nest.
  • Turning off all beachfront lighting, dusk to dawn, from March 1 to October 31 (Ordinance #554). See Highland Beach Code, Article V, Chapter 4, Section 8.
  • Avoid walking on the beach at night and do not use flashlights on the beach during the nesting season.


For more information contact:

Barbara Blanid James
Email: bocablanid@gmail.com
Permit Holder
3201 S. Ocean Blvd.
Highland Beach, FL
Ph: (561) 289-1109
Injured or Dead Seas Turtles
If you encounter an injured or dead sea turtle, please report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Marine Research Institute at (561) 575-5407, or to the FWC Law Enforcement at (888) 404-FWCC.

For more information about how to contact the FWC about sea turtles or other animals, please visit the FWC website.

Additional information about how to help injured or dead sea turtles is available by viewing the following document:

Injured or Dead Sea Turtle Information
Protecting Palm Beach County
To learn more about protecting sea turtles in Palm Beach County, download the Protect Palm Beach County's Other Visitors brochure. This brochure is published by the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resource Management and includes information on:

  • Nesting Sea Turtles
  • Hatchling Sea Turtles
  • Beachfront Lighting
  • Guided Turtle Walks
  • Important Contact Information
Sea Turtle Conservation
Sea Turtle Specialty License Plate
One way for Florida residents to support sea turtle conservation is to purchase a sea turtle specialty license plate. Proceeds from the specialty plates help fund the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Turtle Protection Program. To learn more about the sea turtle license plates please visit the Florida's Sea Turtle License Plate official website.