In mid-August, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society of Brevard
County (STPS) came to the rescue of thousands of sea turtle
hatchlings that were stunned by unusually cold surf water.
With help of people in Brevard County, STPS, a sea turtle
conservation group headquartered in Melbourne Beach, collected
approximately 8,000 stranded hatchlings from the beach between 7
and 13 August 2003.
Cold-water upwellings occasionally occur on the east coast of
Florida, but this summer the upwelling was much stronger than in
previous years. Water temperatures in August were as low as 59° F
in Brevard County. This abrupt water temperature change caused many
emerged sea turtle hatchlings to become lethargic as they entered
the ocean. The hatchlings were incapable of swimming through the
surf and washed back onto shore. During several days in mid-August,
thousands of live, cold-stunned hatchlings were strewn over Brevard
County beaches. The majority of collected hatchlings were released
in St. Lucie County where the water temperature was higher. Less
active hatchlings were taken offshore by boat and released off
Volusia, Brevard, and Palm Beach counties. STPS played an
indispensable, coordinating role in this event. Their conservation
dedication is greatly appreciated by FWRI's sea turtle research
group. Thank you, Sea Turtle Preservation Society!