As Hurricane Isaias approached South Florida’s coastline, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) and the Juno Beach Pier closed its campuses from Saturday, August 1 through Sunday, August 2. All programs were canceled over the weekend while campuses were closed to the public. Both sites resumed to normal operations on Monday, August 3 once Hurricane Isaias had passed South Florida.
Before and during the storm, LMC closely monitored the National Hurricane Center and communicated frequently with county officials to heed instructions. Additionally, the Center stayed in constant communication with Palm Beach County, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Town of Juno Beach, and Palm Beach County Parks. LMC tailors its crisis plans in correspondence with these partners.
The hospital staff ensures sea turtle patients receive uninterrupted care during the course of hurricanes, such as Hurricane Isaias. During storms, the Center’s rehab and research team continues their efforts in limited capacities until the storm passes. In light of the storm, LMC’s research team monitor the number of nests incubating on local beaches before and after the storm; they will determine the storm’s impact on nesting sites following the hurricane’s departure.
However, the Center stresses to the public that no storm season is a total loss for Florida’s sea turtles. Sea turtles have a nesting strategy that accommodates for such natural events. Each nesting female turtle deposits several nests throughout the duration of the nesting season – essentially hedging her bets to make sure that even if a storm hits, there is a high probability that a few of the nests will incubate successfully.
Lastly, experts advise any beachgoers to remain off the beach leading up to, during, and after the storm and to adhere to the following sea turtle safety guidelines:
- Don’t search the coastline for hatchlings. Authorized individuals will conduct visual surveys during their normal activities.
- Don’t move or interfere with any exposed nests or eggs. Eggs and nests have the best chance of survival when left untouched.
- Leave all broken eggshells on the beach; they will naturally decompose and contribute to the health of the beach.
- Call FWC (888-404-3922 or *FWC) regarding any sick, injured or disoriented sea turtles or hatchlings.
- Transport any sick, injured or disoriented hatchlings in a bucket with damp sand and no water to LMC’s 24-hour drop-off cooler located outside of the front entrance of the Center.
- When residing near the coastline, make sure to turn off all lights at night to reduce light pollution and ensure nesting and hatching sea turtles safely make it into the ocean.
- Before the storm, tie-down any loose outdoor items so they do not make their way to the beach or waterways.
If you discover a sick, injured or stranded sea turtle, please call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (*FWC) or LMC’s Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline at 561-603-0211.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 360,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.
Public Relations and Engagement Specialist
Note: Photos have been permitted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)