May Ushers in the Sea Turtles’ Nesting Season


The Longboat Key Turtle Watch_1Longboat Key, Florida | May 9th, 2017 – This month of May promises to be event-filled days for our Kepecz-Hays Team, more so that this is the time of the year marking the start of the sea turtle nesting season.


This annual visit of turtles to lay their eggs on the gulf-side beaches of Longboat Key is very much part of the charm of living on the island, particularly for residents with beachfront homes. Our team’s open houses and showings starting this May up to October, the end of the nesting season, therefore has an added endearing dimension: highlighting the dedicated turtle conservation efforts of Longboat’s communities.


Delights for Beachfront Homes


The Longboat Key Turtle Watch_2Fortunate for us at Kepecz-Hays Team, we have sales listings in gulf-front properties, such as in Veinte and Positano, which share the front-row seats of the yearly visits of turtles to breed on our island. In more ways than one, these quaint marine creatures are ambassadors of goodwill proclaiming the pristine quality of our beaches and our balanced ecosystem, assets which add premium value to Longboat Key homes for sale.


It is also comforting to note that local conservation efforts during the past turtle nesting seasons are reaping much success. Mote Marine Laboratory has reported that the local nesting season in 2016 was a record breaker with nests recorded nearly double from 2015. Last year, the Sarasota beaches of Longboat Key yielded 1,184 nests compared with 486 in 2015.


The 2016 totals were also higher in Manatee’s Longboat Key with 578 nests, up from 340, and on Siesta Key with 476 nests versus 78 nests in the prior year. Typically, the types of turtles which nest in Longboat Key are loggerheads but occasionally Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and green sea turtles also breed in the island. It is fascinating too that the returning sea turtles, Mote Marine scientists say, are the very same hatchlings from the eggs laid on Longboat Key some 30 years previously.


Hats Off to Our Turtle Watchers


One group that has been contributing much to this headway in marine conservation is the Longboat Key Turtle Watch. Its volunteers patrol the island’s gulf-side beach and mark the nests so that these breeding places are left undisturbed.


This group of some 30 volunteers monitor four beach stretches starting from the Sea Club Resort northward to the Beer Can Island near Longboat Pass Bridge. The volunteers walk the beach at 6:30 a.m. several days a week, and this routine typically goes on till end-October when the eggs of all marked nests have hatched or have been dug up.


Organized in 1969, Longboat Key Turtle Watch recruits the volunteers who also help hundreds of hatchlings and sea turtles return to the Gulf at the end of the nesting season. This group holds fund-raising and information campaigns on sea turtle conservation for the Longboat community as well.


Stricter Turtle Ordinance


This year, town officials revised Longboat Key’s turtle ordinance and made it even tougher. These rules require changing exterior lighting on gulf-front home or resort premises to amber-colored low wavelength bulbs. Stricter regulations on storing beach furniture, which are a hazard to sea turtles, on the shoreline have also been adopted.


Signs reminding resort guests to refrain from flash photography at nest sites have also been installed. The list of rules provides also that blinds have to be closed at night to keep interior light in and avoid disorienting the nesting turtles which are certainly welcome guests of our island from May to October.