Sea Turtles in Highland Beach
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turtle1.bmp (169078 bytes)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 hundreds of 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.

turtle2.bmp (132454 bytes)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:

bd10300_.gif (261 bytes)  Avoiding any potential nest areas that are marked by stakes,
     or tracks leading to a nest

bd10300_.gif (261 bytes)  Turning off all beachfront lighting, dusk to dawn, from March 1 to October 31 (Ordinance #554), as required by
     Highland Beach Code, Article V, Chapter 4, Section 8.

bd10300_.gif (261 bytes)  Avoid walking on the beach at night, and if you find it a necessity, do NOT use flashlights on the beach during the
     nesting season.

Anyone interested in learning more about sea turtles or volunteering for the turtle program in Highland Beach should contact Barbara Blanid James at 561-272-6496, or via e-mail at

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