Habitat Conservation Plan / Incidental Take Permit
Sea Turtle Season begins May 1
Sea Turtle Season begins May 1. To comply with regulations that protect the turtles and the Anastasia Island Beach Mouse, beach driving and lighting rules are in effect May 1st to October 31st. Vehicular traffic on the beach is only allowed from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm. Additionally, all beachfront properties are required to reduce the impact of interior and exterior lights which may impact nesting sea turtles. Turtle season rules.
Our Largest Natural Resource
The beaches of St. Johns County are the areas largest natural resource consisting of 41.1 miles of various sandy conditions. From coquina to white soft sand our beaches host a variety of coastal species as well as endless recreational opportunities. Visitors enjoy recreational and commercial fishing, surfing, horseback riding, sunbathing, beach combing, and beach driving.
Sharing Our Beaches
On 16.3 miles of our beaches driving is allowed at various levels of restrictions. Beach driving is a lawful and traditional activity that can impact protected species such as sea turtles, the native Anastasia Island Beach Mice (AIBM), sensitive shorebirds, and their nesting and feeding habitat. St. Johns County recognized the need for coordinating lawful beach activities in a manner that maintains public use, while minimizing negative impacts to the natural beach/dune environment and the protected species that depend on its health. In August 2006, St. Johns County received approval from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for a 20 year Incidental Take Permit (ITP) and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to minimize these possible effects.
Impact On Our Beaches
In addition to beach driving, there are a variety of other negative impacts brought on by human disturbance to sea turtles and AIBM. These include: public and private beachfront lighting; special beach events; human presence on the beach at night; feral and free-roaming cats; destruction of dunes by pedestrian traffic and horseback riding; trash and objects on the beach; coastal development and construction; seawalls, revetments, and other armoring structures; and other beach management activities.
For more information about the Habitat Conservation Plan and Special Use Permits, please call us at (904) 209-3740.
Want More Beach Info?
For more information about our beaches, please visit the Beaches section of the website.
Remember: Leave only your footprints in the sand.