Habitat Conservation Plan / Incidental Take Permit
Laure Noualhat visits St. Johns County Beach Renourishment Projects – St. Johns County was honored to welcome Laure Noualhat, a French environmental journalist, writer, and film director, to St. Johns County. Laure is currently working on a story for Le Figaro Magazine, focusing on how governments are handling the effects of climate change, including beach erosion. Laure Noualhat visits St. Johns County Beach Renourishment Projects
Historic Rebound for Sea Turtle Population After 2023 Nesting Season – In early November, all of the sea turtle nests on the beaches of St. Johns County finished hatching, and the results were stellar. According to numbers provided by the St. Johns County Environmental Division Habitat Conservation Section, 2023 is the first year our county ever recorded triple-digit green sea turtle nests on its beaches, with a total of 133 nests out of the 1,205 counted by volunteers. Of the remaining 1,072 nests, 1,057 belonged to loggerhead turtle nests and 15 to leatherback sea turtles. In total, St. Johns County estimates 79,811 hatchlings emerged from these nests and made their way to the Atlantic Ocean. Historic Rebound for Sea Turtle Population - Press Release | Sea Turtle Growth Video
Beach Steward Program Volunteers Needed – St. Johns County is seeking volunteers to survey wrack lines to recover stranded washback sea turtles and conduct beach cleanups from August through November. Be a Sea Turtle Washback Program Volunteer
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins May 1 – Sea turtle nesting season begins May 1, and St. Johns County officials are asking residents, visitors, and businesses to help protect natural habitat by observing all nesting season laws and regulations. The beaches of St. Johns County are home to several species of endangered or threatened sea turtles. From May 1 to Oct. 31, St. Johns County staff will close vehicular beach access gates at 7:30 p.m. and reopen them at 8 a.m. to allow nesting sea turtles to have a safe beach throughout the night. Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Nesting Season Rules – To comply with regulations that protect the turtles, beach driving and lighting rules are in effect May 1 to October 31. All beachfront properties are required to reduce the impact of interior and exterior lighting which may impact nesting sea turtles. Volunteer Opportunities and Share the Beach.
Coastal Construction Permits
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
Beach driving is allowed on 16.3 miles of our beaches at varying levels of restriction. 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 Anastasia Island Beach Mice (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) 209-0331.
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.