Tara Dodson reported to Historic City News that several changes are in store for St. Johns County beaches this weekend, including impacts from Atlantic storm activity and the re-opening of Porpoise Point to vehicles.
Red Flag Advisory on all County Beaches
Due to anticipated extreme surf and high tides associated with Hurricane Bill, as well as the new moon lunar cycle, red flag advisories will be in effect this weekend on all St. Johns County Beaches. Surf heights could reach ten feet and all swimmers, surfers and beachgoers should expect strong rip currents throughout the weekend.
Also due to these conditions, all portable restroom facilities will be removed from the beach. The beaches will also be subject to emergency closures to vehicles under the direction of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
This storm event may also generate significant amounts of marine debris, along with juvenile Sea Turtles, which is common during Sea Turtle Nesting Season. If anyone encounters juvenile sea turtles, please contact (904) 227-0023 and leave an area code and phone number on the emergency pager.
Porpoise Point is Again Open to Vehicles
After a successful shorebird nesting season, Porpoise Point on the St. Augustine Inlet has been re-opened to vehicles. Also, a new addition at Porpoise Point provides a pedestrian-only area along the dunes to provide a safe place for people to walk, jog or picnic. The new area will improve public safety at the inlet, while also protecting the shorebird nesting habitat throughout the year.
With guidance from the Audubon Society and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a portion of Porpoise Point was closed in April to allow the federally and state-protected Wilson’s Plovers and Least Terns to nest in an undisturbed habitat. Since then, Audubon volunteers at Porpoise Point recorded a total of 50 Least Tern’s nests with ten successful juveniles, in addition to three Wilson’s Plovers pairs with three fledged chicks. St. Johns County officials appreciate all beach drivers, fishermen and bird stewards for keeping this area protected for the duration of bird nesting season.
Photo credit: Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire