By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor
(Friday, May 24, 2019) – When asked what our City’s most notable landmark is, I, along with most of you, would identify the beach. We bask in year-round sun and sea along our picturesque coastline. But residents and visitors of Sunny Isles Beach are not the only individuals who enjoy the haven the beach offers. For six months each year, we share the shore during sea turtle nesting season.
In Miami-Dade County, sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 to October 31. Sea turtles are protected under federal, state and local laws and are a vital component of our ocean’s ecosystem. They help maintain coral reefs, transport nutrients from the oceans to beaches and facilitate the balance of marine food webs. But unfortunately, all sea turtles are either threatened or endangered.
Many already know that artificial light, boating traffic, pollution, plastic ingestion, and entanglement with fishing supplies all jeopardize the safety of sea turtles. As residents of a coastal community, there are several simple ways you can contribute to the safe and undisturbed nesting of this impactful marine life.
When walking or playing on the beach, steer clear of marked sea turtle nests and respect their natural behavior. A nest will be marked off with stakes, neon tape and a nest sign to protect the nest during incubation. It is against the law to disturb a sea turtle, its nest, eggs or hatchlings. If you encounter a person vandalizing a nest, call the police or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888.404.3922. Also, keep bright lights from shining on the beach as this can confuse the turtles and lead them away from the ocean.
Another way you can help is by picking up your trash on the beach. Properly dispose of your garbage and do not litter. A sea turtle might see debris and mistake it for food.
This month, help us keep our beach in the pristine condition we know and love. Join your neighbors and community as we host a beach cleanup on Saturday, June 15 from 8:00 to 10:00 am starting at the Ellen Wynne beach access. Let’s preserve the beach for all creatures big and small. For more information, visit sibfl.net/beachcleanup or email firstname.lastname@example.org.