Renourishment Projects and Sea Turtles

Regarding current South Boca Raton Beach Renourishment Project - March 6 - May 1, 2023

On the southeast coast of Florida (including Boca Raton), sea turtle nesting season officially begins on March 1 due to the early season leatherback sea turtles. However, nesting activity is usually light enough in the earliest part of the season that we can safely construct a beach nourishment project while also protecting any turtles that may come up to nest on the beach. Because most nesting occurs later in the year, this is why the project must be substantially completed by May 1.

State permits require all beach nourishment work to be done outside of the main part of sea turtle nesting season. In most of Florida, that is from May 1 – Oct 31. State and Federal regulatory agencies highly regulate beach nourishment projects regarding the potential for nesting sea turtles.

Specific protocols have been implemented to minimize the potential for impacts on nesting associated with the project. This includes daytime and nighttime monitoring and the ability to relocate nests laid within the project area if necessary. Additional monitoring required by permit will be done between March 1 and April 30.

Once construction begins, the beach construction area will be surveyed at night in order to spot any turtle that may emerge in the construction zone. If a nesting turtle emerges from the ocean onto the beach, all construction activity is required to stop until the turtle returns to the ocean. If a turtle does lay a nest in the construction zone, the eggs will be carefully relocated to a safe area of beach and allowed to develop safely until they hatch. 

Due to its unique operation, dredging equipment is in high demand and timing for these projects is governed by the permits and contractor availability.