The 2017 sea turtle nesting season ended Tuesday, October 31 and revealed a record-topping number of nests and hatchlings on the northern beaches of Palm Beach County.
The news is somewhat unexpected since Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria all impacted the area’s waters and its beaches. In fact, Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management reports that about 150 feet of shore was lost around the Singer Island/Jupiter region.
Due to the storms, Palm Beach County forfeited approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of sand that has a hefty $40 million replacement cost.
The erosion washed away some sea turtle nests. Still, northern Palm Beach’s Loggerhead Marine Center had a record high documentation of nests – over 19,000!
Experts credit the impressively upward sea turtle numbers to the conservation efforts that have been in place for decades and say the measures are well worth the return.
Beaches are patrolled nearly every day by the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach. Patrols look for the tell-tale track marks left by nesting females and the slightly-circular nests where the precious turtle eggs may rest under a few feet of sand.
Stakes strung with yellow tape border off the nest areas, and alert beachgoers that the areas should not be approached.
- Some sea turtles can grow to be 6 feet long and weigh over 1,000 pounds
- Sea turtles can live 80 years
- Females begin laying eggs when they are between 20 and 40 years old
- It takes about 60 days for the eggs to hatch
- Only about 1 in 1,000 sea turtles will survive into adulthood
- Sea Turtles are protected and it is a crime to disturb a nest or harass a turtle