Beach surveys are conducted on an ATV every morning starting half an hour before sunrise from March 1st to October 31st each year. The program surveys all (21.5 miles) of Broward County's beaches (except Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park) documenting all new crawls from the previous night. The marine turtle specialists determine if the crawl resulted in a false crawl or a nest. If it is determined to be a false crawl (female sea turtle did not deposit eggs data is gathered and the tracks are erased. If it is determined to be a nest, data is collected, the area is roped off with stakes and tape, tracks are erased, and the nest is monitored during incubation until hatching. Once the nest hatches (~45-80 days depending on species) we wait three days before performing an excavation to determine hatch success.
The program also installs and monitors restraining cages in certain areas of Broward County that have high artificial light exposure. Sea turtle adults and hatchlings orient themselves towards the brightest horizon, which should be the moon and stars reflecting off the water. However. If there is coastal lighting sea turtles may get confused and crawl towards the artificial lights, possibly never reaching the ocean. Restraining cages are installed right before the nest comes into hatching range. When the nest hatches the cage collects the hatchlings until our authorized personnel can respond.
The program also responds to sea turtle emergencies and strandings, conducts lighting surveys, and leads public education and community outreach events in an effort to expand knowledge about the importance of endangered sea turtle conservation.