The Sea Turtle Conservancy Sea Turtle Grants Program, funded through Florida’s specialty license plate sales, has awarded a grant to the Friends of St. Joseph State Parks to assist in implementation of a new sea turtle nesting season monitoring program at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

The Sea Turtle Conservancy Sea Turtle Grants Program, funded through Florida’s specialty license plate sales, has awarded a grant to the Friends of St. Joseph State Parks to assist in implementation of a new sea turtle nesting season monitoring program at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.

The State Park is the nesting epicenter of the Northern Gulf of Mexico loggerhead sea turtle recovery unit, and accounts for over 10 percent of all loggerhead nests laid in the panhandle. Large amounts of natural erosion have washed away beach habitat, and reduced the ability for important sea turtle nesting data to be collected by vehicles and Park Staff.

To address this problem, the State Park and its citizen support organization, the Friends of St. Joseph State Parks, partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, and Florida State University to develop a new, sustainable monitoring program.

With funding from the Sea Turtle Grants Program, the Friends of St. Joseph State Parks were able to purchase a new UTV and two GPS units which were used by six student interns from Florida State University to conduct these important daily nesting surveys by walking sections of six miles of beach.

The partnerships and financial assistance for this project ensure that the State Park can continue to provide vital information regarding sea turtle nesting in the Florida panhandle.

To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the "Helping Sea Turtles Survive" specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.