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End of Sea Turtle Nesting Season

End of Sea Turtle Nesting Season

End of Sea Turtle Nesting Season

Vero Beach, FL – Another sea turtle nesting season is in the books. The 2021 sea turtle nesting season, here in Indian River County, took place from March 1 until October 31, with most of nesting activity occurring during the summer months.

During the nesting season, Indian River County beaches are surveyed daily by qualified biologists via all-terrain vehicles (ATV). The County’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program monitors all nests laid within the 22.4 miles of shoreline. This Program not only coordinates a countywide database of sea turtle nesting data, but also manages the sea turtle lighting program along the beach and educates the public through outreach efforts.

End of Sea Turtle Nesting Season
End of Sea Turtle Nesting Season

Over 7,100 nests were laid in 2021, which is slightly lower than the 2020 and 2019 seasons, yet higher than 2018. Loggerheads laid 5,629 nests this season, lower than the previous 5-year average of 6,257. Green turtles laid 1,514 nests, just above the previous 5-year average of 1,333. Leatherbacks were also low this season with only 24 nests compared to their 5-year average of 45 nests. These numbers are not alarming. Since the beginning of the countywide monitoring effort which began in the 2000s, nesting activity has been increasing. From 2006 to 2021, the overall nesting trend for Loggerheads and Green turtles is on a slight rise. Leatherbacks remain low, as they tend to nest in higher densities in other locations along Florida’s east coast.

Indian River County Sea Turtle Nest Count Summary

Species 2021 Nesting Season Total 16 Year Avg. 5 Year Rolling Avg. Record (Year)
Loggerheads 5,629 4,955 6,257 7,197 (2016)
Greens 1,514 9,55 1,333 2,634 (2017)
Leatherbacks 24 52 45 87 (2010)

This data is preliminary; the final numbers will be published in the 2021 HCP Report.

  • The last Leatherback nest was laid on August 27 at Humiston Park in Vero Beach.
  • The last Loggerhead nest was laid on September 5 near the Sandpointe Subdivision in South County.
  • The last Green nest was laid on October 20 within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.

For more information on the County’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program, please contact Quintin Bergman, Indian River County’s Sea Turtle Environmental Specialist, at qbergman@ircgov.com

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