Living along the coast of the Daytona Beach area is full of leisure, luxury and beautiful views of the water and local wildlife. Thousands of condos line the Atlantic beachfront welcoming tourists, residents and retirees to enjoy the sun and sand that Central Florida has to offer. But one often overlooked gem of Daytona Beach condo living is the magnificent, but endangered, sea turtle. These gentle creatures emerge from the surf at night to lay their eggs in nests dug into the drier sand. A large portion of no-drive beach is allocated for these animals as they attempt to make a comeback from the damage done by development in their natural habitat. If you live in a beachside condo or are considering purchasing one, there are a few simple laws in effect or guidelines to follow to ensure that these animals will still be present along our Central Florida beaches for generations to come.
- Don’t walk on the dunes.
- Don't disturb a turtle that is crawling to or from the ocean or laying eggs. Watch from a distance of at least 30 feet.
- Avoid shining lights on the beach at night as this may frighten away nesting females and interfere with the hatchlings ability to find the sea.
- Do not disturb markers or protective screening over turtle nests. These nests are being studied and protected.
- Don't litter. Cigarette butts, fishing line and other trash can harm the animals and birds along the beach.
- Report any injured or dead sea turtles to any Volusia County Beach Services employee.
The sea turtle season runs from May 15th through October 31st, but due to unusually warm temperatures last year, turtles began nesting in early April. For this reason it is important to consider these turtles at-risk year round. Normally our sand is quite compact in the driving areas with a flat contour. As you move north toward Flagler Beach, you encounter courser red sand that is difficult to drive in but builds nice dunes. This is a more natural beach and is ideal for turtle activity. However, as more beach real estate has been developed, and through erosion, much of the dunes are gone and are now replaced by sea wall. Volusia County has the first Habitat Conservation Plan and this is why there are now driving restrictions in place along stretches of Daytona area beaches as well as lighting restrictions at night for places like the Boardwalk. It is important to be aware of these “no-drive” sections, many of which out the front door of luxurious condos. Remember this was their home first. Let’s all do our part to keep the endangered sea turtle safe as we enjoy life on the beautiful Central Florida coast.