Surfside Makes Efforts in Turtle Conservation
Did you know that one of Surfside’s most beloved residents is the Florida Loggerhead Sea Turtle? Every year, from May to October, the Florida Loggerhead Sea Turtle returns home to Surfside’s beach to nest. Since the species is classified as threatened, Surfside takes special care to make sure that nests are protected. In Florida alone, as many as 68,000 loggerhead nests are found – including those on Surfside Beach.
About the Florida Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The Florida Loggerhead Sea Turtle is the most common sea turtle in Florida. Named because of its large head, which can be ten inches wide, it has powerful jaws used to crush the clams, crabs and other animals on which it feeds. An adult loggerhead sea turtle weighs approximately 298 lb and measures about 35 in long.
Turtles such as the Florida Loggerhead used to roam the seas in the millions but their numbers have been greatly reduced due to fishing and urban developments impact to coastal areas. In addition to that, the loggerhead sea turtle has a low reproductive rate with females laying only an average of four egg clutches every two or three years.
The combination of low reproductive rates, damage to nesting areas and untended fishing gear has led to a drastic drop in their numbers. This is where turtle conservation becomes important.
What Surfside is Doing About Turtle Conservation
In Surfside, during turtle nesting season, we work extra hard to make sure that our turtles can prosper in the area. We actively participate in Miami-Dade’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program and work hard to make sure that residents and visitors alike are aware of best practices.
For residents or visitors interested in learning more, The Sea Turtle Awareness program consists of a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation, followed by a trip out to the beach to release Loggerhead hatchlings out to sea.
Please Remember! If you see a sea turtle, leave it undisturbed, unless it is in distress. And NEVER handle a hatchling sea turtle. Although it’s hard to resist (even for us!) nesting is a critical stage in the sea turtle's life cycle.
Visit Surfside’s Turtle Walk
As a tribute to our favorite resident, next to the Surfside Community Center is a public art exhibition featuring 12 turtle sculptures, each painted by a different South Florida artist. Commissioned to bring awareness to sea turtle conservation “Turtle Walk” is located on 93rd Street between Collins and Harding Avenues.
Each of the sculptures stands five feet high with a flipper span of four feet and are made of a resin and fiberglass composite. Some are painted with bright patterns, while others depict landscapes of a beach scene and all are worth a look!
The list of artists commissioned for the project includes Dania Sierra, Ezi Algazi, Jackie Roche, Marcy Grosso, Puchi Noriega, Nancy Martini, Johanna Boccardo, Trish Jesselli and Marcie Ziv.
To learn more about the program or see more of Turtle Walk, visit visitsurfsidefl.com/surfsideturtles or click here to learn more about sea turtle conservation programs in the area.