Beach chairs causing problems for nesting sea turtles, environmentalists say

Beach chairs causing problems for nesting sea turtles, environmentalists say

At Loggerhead Marinelife Center, you’ll find dozens of people working to protect sea turtles.

“Sea turtles tell us the health of the ocean,” Sarah Hirsch said.

Hirsch researches sea turtle nesting patterns. She says this turtle nesting season, their efforts are working.

“We’re way ahead of actually our record year at this time,” Hirsch said.

A few miles down the coast you’ll find Kelly Martin trying to keep it that way.

“Part of my job is enforcement,” Martin said.

Martin says lately, she’s been enforcing heavy wooden beach chairs being left on the beach overnight. She says nesting sea turtles can easily get trapped. Just a few days ago, a green sea turtle was found under a beach chair that was left out overnight at Riviera Beach Municipal Beach.

Martin says if beachgoers didn’t find her the next day, the results could have been deadly.

“Had that not been the case and the turtle stayed on the beach for several hours, they do overheat quickly so that could of been a fatal problem,” Martin said.

Martin says vendors who contract with city beaches to put the chairs out will get cited if they don’t remove the chairs after dark. Lights on the beach at night, and of course small plastic also do harm to sea turtles.

“But we work with a huge host of NGO’s, volunteer groups, government groups trying to protect these animals,” Martin said.

On Saturday, June 15, Loggerhead MarineLife Center will host its 8th Annual Run 4 The Sea which supports the center’s mission of sea turtle and ocean conservation. The timed four-mile race begins at 7 a.m. and is open to runners and walkers. There is also a one-mile kids' fun run at 8:15 a.m. and a virtual run option.

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