Thorough scientific studies of sea turtle nesting activity along the beaches of the Refuge have continued each nesting season for over three decades. Studies began by Dr. Llewellyn Ehrhart, University of Central Florida, confirm the global importance of the Refuge to loggerheads and green turtles.
Nesting graphs are based on nest surveys conducted by University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area.
During each nesting season, which runs from March to October, sea turtle nests are counted each morning. Loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the Carr Refuge generally represents between 20 – 25% of all the loggerhead nesting in Florida. Green sea turtle nesting in the Carr Refuge generally represents between 30 – 35% of all the green turtle nesting in Florida. And leatherback sea turtle nesting in the Carr Refuge generally represents between 3 – 5 % of all the leatherback nesting in Florida.
Loggerhead Record Nesting Year – 1998 (21,543 nests)
Green Record Nesting Year – 2019 (17,445 nests, third time on record there were more green turtle nests than loggerhead nests, first time was 2015. The 2017 nesting season represented the second time there were more green than loggerhead nests.)
Leatherback Record Nesting Year – 2014 (79 nests)
As for other wildlife, the refuge provides important habitat for the Florida scrub jay, gopher tortoise, beach mouse and numerous threatened plant species.