For New Owners
From the smallest star fish to magnificent manatees … from great white egrets and snowy plovers to soaring eagles and ospreys .. from snook & sheephead and oysters and tulips in our “inside” waters to 350 pound loggerhead turtles coming to our beaches from the Gulf of Mexico—Florida’s fish, marine and avian life rely on healthy, clean waterways and beaches in order to survive.
FROM THE BEACH TO THE BAY
Harbors, Bays & Waterways
Speeding boats, trash and other discards, and fertilizer run-off are the biggest detriments to the environment. Do your part by keeping your septic in good working order and pumped when needed. Read Baseline "Basic" Septic Tank Operation online.
Most (not all) of the intra-coastal waterways allow boats to travel at 25 m.p.h. But our island harbors and bays are restricted to slow speed and/or no wake travel, to protect resident dolphins and manatees, as well as our fragile shorelines and the sea grasses that are an integral part of our marine environment and eco-system. Oh yes, and to protect moored boats from being bounced about or even torn from their moorings. (In case you didn’t know, you are responsible for your own wake!)
So… No wake please! Aside from the damage from the wake itself, with our islands’ shallows and low tides, propellers can churn up the homes of the creatures that live in the mud and grasses. And do not discard anything in the water. Mono-filament line kills dolphins, manatee and birds! (read more at Save the Manatee.org)
Beaches, Birds, Turtles & Light bulbs Our beaches provide nesting for hundreds of species of birds and four species of sea turtles (Green, Loggerhead, Kemps Ridley, Hawksbill). Many of the birds and all of the turtles are protected species. Snowy Plovers and Least Terns, for instance, lay their eggs on the bare sand and camouflage them.
Please……do not feed or disturb resident or migrating nesting and resting birds. (read more about Snowy Plovers)
May through October is turtle nesting season. Forty-five to sixty days after a Loggerhead comes ashore in the night to dig her nest in the sand and lay her ping-pong ball size eggs, an average of 100 two-inch baby turtles will hatch … and hopefully find their way out and back to sea, to spend the rest of their lives.
Our volunteer Turtle Patrol, authorized & permitted by the State of Florida, is out every day marking and monitoring nests.
Please… observe the marked sea turtle nests and DO NOT disturb them!
“Light” can be deadly for sea turtles. Nesting sea turtles will turn away from light and not lay their eggs. Hatchlings will be disoriented by light and never make it back to the Gulf. So… if you live near enough to the beach for indoor or outdoor lights to be seen, please… keep your shades down at night and be sure to shield outdoor lights on the side facing beaches. (read more about Sea Turtles)
And while we’re talking about “lights,” wherever you live on these islands, for our myriad of nocturnal critters and your two-legged star-gazing neighbors, as well, please… lights out or low (including dock lights).
Here, There & Everywhere So many people search far and wide for that special sanctuary. The wildlife amongst us found that sanctuary a long time ago. We who live here have found it more recently. Let us never forget to preserve it!
For more information on living with wildlife, visit Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission online.
DID YOU KNOW that
our beaches are part of an erosion control management program? The endangered species preservation programs that happen on our beaches, such as the Sea Turtle Patrol and shorebird monitoring, makes us eligible for state and federal funding. Your cooperation with these programs helps to keep our beaches beautiful!