Habitat Conservation Plan / Incidental Take Permit

Sea Turtle Season

Get the latest sea turtle nesting & hatching info! Turtle Tracks.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Rules – To comply with regulations that protect the turtles, beach driving and lighting rules are in effect May 1 to October 31. Vehicular traffic on the beach is only allowed from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and all beachfront properties are required to reduce the impact of interior and exterior lighting which may impact nesting sea turtles. Sea Turtle Nesting Season and the Habitat Conservation Program.

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.

Contact Us

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.