The location of the St. Lucie nuclear power plant provides an opportunity to understand the nesting biology of sea turtles. The plant’s location on Hutchinson Island is adjacent to nesting beaches that are among the most important in the western hemisphere. For example, in 2011 3,227 loggerhead nests were recorded as well as, 451 green turtle and 507 leatherback nests. This area is especially important considering both green and leatherback turtles are currently listed as sea turtle endangered species.
These beaches are part of an index nesting program (INBS) and a state wide nesting program (SNBS) for Florida. Each spring and summer Inwater Research Group conducts daily surveys to count loggerhead, green turtle, and leatherback nests on Hutchinson Island and to record how many hatchlings these nests produce. The combined efforts of the SNBS and INBS programs not only allow for the management and evaluation of coastal development efforts, but also promote the recovery of marine turtles.