To report a sick, injured or dead Sea Turtle,
please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) at 888-404-3922
SEA TURTLE NESTING SEASON
Islamorada is fortunate to have active sea turtle nests every year and we are committed to protecting the nesting turtles, turtle nests and the fragile hatchlings. Owners of property adjacent to ‘Sea Turtle Nesting Areas’ have certain responsibilities addressed later on this page and adjacent property owners must adhere to the Islamorada Code of Ordinances to aid in sea turtle nesting protection, but everyone can help to protect sea turtles during the nesting season.
Sea turtle nesting may occur on any sandy beach in the Florida Keys but occurs in Islamorada mainly between mile markers 72 and 83, primarily on the Atlantic shoreline. The female turtles come ashore between dusk and dawn, dig a hole in the sand and lay about 100 eggs and then cover the nest with sand. The female turtles return to the ocean and the eggs hatch roughly two months later. The nesting season in the Florida Keys can start as early as March and can run into November. Islamorada’s Code of Ordinances defines the sea turtle nesting season as April 15th to October 31st of each year.
It is vitally important that we safely share our beaches with these fascinating and endangered animals. Here are some of the ways you can help protect sea turtles during the nesting season:
If you find a sick, injured or dead sea turtle please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Call FWC 1-888-404-3922 and ask the dispatcher to contact the stranding network.
If you find turtle tracks on your beach, please do not disturb them. Tracks provide important information about nests and hatching events. Please call Sandi at Save a Turtle, Inc., a non-profit organization, at 305-766-3714 to report a possible sea turtle nest and to request a volunteer to survey your property.
OWNERS OF PROPERTIES ADJACENT TO SEA TURTLE NESTING AREAS
Map of Upper Matecumbe Key Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches (pdf)
Map of Lower Matecumbe Key Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches (pdf)
Listed below are SOME of the sea turtle nesting protection regulations in the Village Code that are important for owners of property adjacent to ‘Sea Turtle Nesting Areas’. Owners should become familiar with all the regulations addressing SEA TURTLE NESTING PROTECTION in Chapter 30, Article VII, Division 3 of the Village Code. Violations of the Islamorada Code of Ordinances are subject to prosecution.
If you are not sure if your beach is a ‘Sea Turtle Nesting Area’ or if you have any questions about sea turtle protection regulations, please call or send an email to the Village’s Environmental Resources Manager, Peter Frezza, at 305-664-6427 or Peter.Frezza@islamorada.fl.us.
If you find it necessary to rake your beach, a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is required. Please call 305-289-7070 for more information.
Do not place sand, boulders, and landscaping materials or operate vehicles within 100 feet of the high water line. A permit for these activities is required from both the Village and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment. Please call FDEP at 305-289-7070 or the Village’s Environmental Resources Manager, Peter Frezza, at 305-664-6427 for more information.
Any development activity (e.g. construction activities) occurring on a property containing mapped sea turtle nesting beach during the nesting season shall require a temporary exclusionary barrier. Village Code Section 30-1582 (f).
Bonfires and campfires are prohibited. Village Code Section 30-1582(b)
LEARN MORE about turtle species, sea turtle protection, nesting information,
and lighting fixture using the links below to external websites:
SAVE-A-TURTLE of the Florida Keys, Inc.
a local organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of rare and endangered marine turtles
Renowned Sea Turtle Research, Education and Conservation Group