Habitat Conservation Washback Program


Habitat Conservation Coordinator Tara Dodson reported to Historic City News that more volunteers are needed for the St. Johns County Habitat Conservation Washback Program to protect sea turtles.

With the arrival of the fall season, the coastline will be battered with heavy storms, rough seas and extreme high tides, resulting in sea turtles being washed back onto the beach. Volunteers are invited to a training this Monday and are needed to look for stranded turtles and transporting them to the rehab facility.

Once sea turtle hatchlings emerge from the nest, they enter the ocean in search of a large layer of sea weed, where they spend time foraging and growing. After large storm events, they are frequently washed back onto the beach and tangled in the sea weed, called the wrack line. This time of year is especially important as St. Johns County beaches historically have unusually high tides.

Volunteers assist by surveying the seaweed, or wrack line, for these young and vulnerable sea turtles who are often plagued with dehydration and exhaustion. In addition to searching the wrack line, volunteers are also needed to transport the turtles to the rehabilitation facility in Volusia County where they receive medical attention.

Volunteers will be on-call and provided with volunteer t-shirts and survey equipment. The program lasts until November 30th.

A free training workshop is scheduled this Monday, September 21st from 6:00–7:00 pm at the Main Library, 1960 North Ponce de Leon Boulevard in St. Augustine.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required, so call Habitat Conservation Coordinator Tara Dodson at (904) 209-3740 if you are able to help.

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