May marks the start of sea turtle nesting season along the Gulf Coast

FLORIDA (WJHG/WECP) - Turn out the lights, it's nesting season for Florida sea turtles!

May marks the beginning of sea turtle nesting season on many of Florida’s sandy beaches, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a few reminder to residents who live near the beach about being sea-turtle friendly.

After sundown, turn of unnecessary lights, keep blinds or curtains closed, or use wavelength LED lamps for lights. If visiting the beach, fill any dug holes and clear the area of furniture, canopies, boats and toys before leaving. Do not handle hatchlings crawling toward the water. A respectful distance should always be kept.

Florida is a critically important destination for nesting sea turtles. More loggerhead turtles nest here than anywhere else in the continental United States, with 91,451 loggerhead nests counted statewide during the 2018 nesting season. Leatherback and green sea turtles also nest in significant numbers in Florida.