Ecological Associates Inc. (EAI) holds a marine turtle permit, which is required to work with threatened and endangered sea turtles and provides extensive training for volunteers involved with nesting surveys.

From May through October, the NSB Turtle Trackers, volunteers with the New Smyrna Beach Marine Turtle Conservancy, survey the beach at sunrise under the direction of an EAI biologist. They survey the beaches from Smyrna Dunes Park to North boundary of Canaveral National Seashore. When tracks are found, volunteers determine which species of turtle came ashore, whether she nested, or had a “false crawl” and no eggs were deposited. A nest site is then protected by a barrier and monitored throughout incubation, which is about 2 months. During that time, volunteers record nest observations and perform a final excavation to collect data on the success of each nest. The data is analyzed and included in statewide totals to help determine the current state of sea turtle populations and nesting trends.