Sarasota County reminds beachgoers to share the shore with native wildlife

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Sarasota County reminds beachgoers to share the shore with native wildlife 
Be on the lookout for protected sea turtle nests on Sarasota County beaches.

SARASOTA COUNTY – As summer approaches and trips to the beach become more frequent, Sarasota County is reminding all visitors and residents to share the shore with our native wildlife.

Beachgoers are asked to be mindful of sea turtle nests and the nests of shorebirds like the snowy plover, who use the open beach to lay their eggs. Dogs can easily damage sea turtle nests and disrupt shorebird nesting. Beach users are also reminded that dogs can enjoy the beach at Brohard Beach Paw Park in Venice.
“Whether leashed or unleashed, walking dogs on the beach can be one of the most disruptive influences on shorebird nesting,” according to Keri Ferenc Nelson, a wildlife specialist for the county. “When shorebirds are disturbed, they can flee and leave their eggs and chicks vulnerable to predators or extreme summer heat.”
Sea turtle nesting season typically runs from May 1 through Oct. 31. Sarasota County beaches serve as an important nesting habitat for both the threatened loggerhead and the endangered green sea turtle, and have also supported nesting of the Kemp’s ridley turtle. Sarasota County has the highest density of sea turtle nesting on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
You can do your part to protect nesting and hatchling sea turtles by knocking down sand castles, filling in holes, and removing all items from the beach each night. Shield all lights that are visible from the beach and replace white light sources with yellow bug type bulbs or amber light emitting diodes (LEDs).
For more information about Sarasota County’s dog friendly facilities, or to learn more about the county’s sea turtle protection program and beach nesting birds, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000, or visit www.scgov.net 
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