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Loggerhead sea turtle swimming in the ocean

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. Each morning at sunrise from May through October, the NSB Turtle Trackers, volunteers with the New Smyrna Beach Marine Turtle Conservancy, survey the beach under the direction of an EAI biologist. They survey the beaches from Ponce de Leon Inlet to the north boundary of Canaveral National Seashore in search of sea turtle tracks in the sand. When tracks are found, volunteers determine which species of turtle came ashore, whether she nested, and if the nest is in danger of being inundated by the tide or washed out by storm water runoff. If the nest is in imminent danger, the eggs may be relocated to a safer location . The nest site is then protected by a barrier and monitored throughout incubation, which is about 60 days. During that time, volunteers record nest observations and perform a final excavation to collect data on the success of each nest. The data is later analyzed by professionals and included in statewide totals to help determine the current state of sea turtle populations and to examine nesting trends.