It has been a busy – and productive -- nesting season for sea turtles at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park (10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive, North Palm Beach, FL 33408). Loggerhead turtles laid 1,664 nests, surpassing the previous record of 1,308 set in 1995. Leatherbacks are also having a record-breaking season with 93 nests; green turtles are consistent with 208 nests.
And that’s even with Tropical Storm Isaac impacting the numbers. "We estimate that we lost 4 percent of the total number of nests due to Tropical Storm Isaac," says Park Manager Don Bergeron. "Our beach held up well. The health of the plants and keeping the wrack line in place added stability to the beach. Nineteen-hundred nests on 1.6 miles of beach is exciting and gives us hope for the future."
Even better news?
The season’s not over yet; we still have about two months to go.
About John D. MacArthur Beach State Park: It’s Palm Beach County’s only state park, nestled on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Lake Worth Lagoon. It boasts 438 acres of pristine coastal land. Check out my video of the Park.
Insider’s tip: Only one in 1,000 hatchlings will reach reproductive maturity. Despite education programs and new regulations, the greatest threat to turtles is still incidental capture in fishing gear and direct harvesting of the eggs by humans. Please remember to keep lights out for sea turtles; they disorient hatchlings.