Sea Turtle Nesting
From May through August, the Space Coast is home to the largest sea turtle nesting area in the United States. Our 72-miles of sun-bronzed beaches offer solitude-seeking sea turtles a place to hatch their offspring. This may sound like a mundane task but of the six sea turtle species that are found in U.S. waters or that nest on U.S. beaches, all are designated as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Specis Act. Because of this, the Space Coast has become the of several turtle preservation societies and the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge which consists of 248-acres and stretches across 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach was founded in 1991 to meet the needs of the world's declining turtle populations due to over-exploitation and loss of safe habitat. Primarily designated to protect the nesting habitat of loggerhead sea turtles and green turtles, the refuge also serves as a minor nesting area for the leatherback turtle, one of the largest and rarest sea turtles in the world.
To help preserve this globally important nesting ground, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has established a partnership with State and County governments and private conservation groups to acquire and manage this dune habitat that has become essential to the reproductive success and survival of the 15,000 to 20,000 sea turtles nesting annually on Florida's Space Coast. Collaboratively, this partnership, known as the Archie Carr Working Group has protected over 900 acres and continues to educate thousands of residents and visitors about the unique characteristics of the barrier island ecosystem.
Nature lovers can witness this time honored tradition of these endangered animals during a night time guided tour during the months of May and August. Reservations are required and all tours begin after dark. For more information on taking a guided tour take a look at our monthly Calendar of Events or visit the following websites:
- Sebastian Inlet State Park (321) 984-4852
- The Barrier Island Management and Ecosystem Center (321) 723-3556
- Sea Turtle Preservation Society (321) 676-1701
- Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge (321) 723-3556