It's a record season for sea turtle nesting on the northern beaches of Palm Beach County.
The Loggerhead Marinelife Center monitors 9.5 miles of sand in Juno, Jupiter and Jupiter Island.
The numbers of Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtle nests are at record highs for any season over the past 40 years, boosted by 10,775 Loggerhead nests and 5,567 Green turtle nests. Add another 97 for the Leatherbacks and the new record number of nests is 16,439, and the season isn't over until October 31.
Lighton says the nests are digitally tagged and his researchers have their work cut out for them each year.
"We're on the beaches just about continuously. And the work that we do is not just about the sea turtle nesting, it's all about the strength of our dunes, the type of sand that is used on our beach, to protect our beach. So the work that we do out on that beach, is really not just about the sea turtles, it's about everything that's important to Floridians, which is about protecting our wildlife and our coastline."
He says beachgoers have to continue to keep our sand and waters clean.
"We're seeing a tremendous amount of our patients come in with an incredible amount of marine debris. And this doesn't just pertain to sea turtles, it pertains to every animal that's using the ocean in this day and age. We'll remove 6 to 10 thousand pounds of marine debris from our beach each year."
Jack tells us says that the turtles' habitat needs to be protected well into the future.
"Our concern is what does the next 3 decades look like offshore, when we know that our oceans are still being used as the world's biggest garbage dump."
He says it's important to remember to keep our beaches free of trash and keep those lights off at night for nesting turtles and hatchlings.
Marinelife Day will be held at the Gardens Mall August 19 to benefit the efforts of the Center and hospital.