St. Lucie County Asks Residents to Not Stack Rocks on the Beach
HUTCHINSON ISLAND – Recent winds and tides have been washing an abundance of coquina rock onto the beaches of Hutchinson Island. Residents and/or visitors have been stacking these rocks in intricate towers along the sandy shores, inadvertently creating unnecessary obstacle courses and hazards for sea turtles.
While these impromptu sculptures are fun to build and look at, St. Lucie County’s Code Compliance and sea turtle monitors urge beachgoers to leave the rocks undisturbed. Stacking these rocks can cause injury to both beachgoers and turtles. Additionally, they create additional navigational hazards for sea turtles trying to nest, as well as hatchlings making their way to the water.
There are three species of marine turtles that nest on the Treasure Coast annually: Green, Loggerhead and Leatherback. All are listed as endangered or threatened species.
St. Lucie County takes marine turtle protection seriously and was recently found to have one of the lowest hatchling disorientation rates in the state. Please do not handle marine turtles, their hatchlings or their eggs. Disturbing marine turtles or their nests is a violation of State and Federal laws and carries criminal penalties. To report marine turtle nest poaching, hatchling disorientations, harassment or dead marine turtles, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC.
Information is available for residents and visitors with questions about marine turtle-related issues. The UF/IFAS St. Lucie County Extension has general information and educational materials about marine turtles. For additional information, visit the Extension Office’s website at http://stlucie.ifas.ufl.edu/seaturtle.html.
(photo of stacked rocks is not on Hutchinson Island)