This layer shows the most recent sea turtle nesting data for Loggerhead Sea Turtles in Florida. These data were evaluated as a potential Conservation Target, orbiological indicator, for the Coastal Uplands Priority Resource. Sea turtle nesting data does not provide a good biological indicator because they show a high degree of philopatry to nesting beaches.
The State of Florida, through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, coordinates the Statewide Nesting Beach Survey program (SNBS). The SNBS was initiated in 1979 under a cooperative agreement between FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its purpose is to document the total distribution, seasonality, and abundance of nesting by sea turtles in Florida. Three species of sea turtles, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta), the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), and the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), nest regularly on Florida's beaches. Two other species, Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) also nest but in very small numbers. All the species are listed as either Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Survey data are derived from observations of tracks and other nesting signs left on the beach by sea turtles. Species identifications and determinations of nesting vs. non-nesting emergences are based on the evaluation of visible features of the track and the nest. Data are gathered on more than 200beaches through a network of permit holders consisting of private conservation groups, volunteers, consultants, academics, local governments, federal agencies, and the Florida Park Service. Nest density classifications of low, medium and high were developed for loggerheads, green turtles and leatherbacks according to quartile ranks. For loggerhead and green turtles, ranking was done within genetic subunits; ranks for leatherbacks were on a statewide basis. Hawksbill turtles and Kemp’s ridleys are denoted only as present or absent on individual beaches. Surveys in the SNBS program may vary with respect to start/stop dates, frequency, duration and beach length between years for a particular beach, as well as between beaches. Survey results are used by managers to evaluate and minimize impacts to turtles and their nests due to human activities such as coastal construction, beach renourishment, and recreation, as well as to identify important areas for enhanced protection or land acquisition.