If you’re like me, fireworks are always the highlight of the Fourth of July weekend. You stare up in awe at these massive explosions of color, and when it’s over, you always wish for more. However, this July 4, especially if you plan to watch fireworks in Florida, be aware of the effects that you may be having on nesting sea turtles and coral reefs.
This weekend falls right in the middle of the nesting period for sea turtles, who come up onto the beach to lay their eggs. Sea turtles like dark, quiet beaches, so as I’m sure you can imagine, thousands of people on the beach watching fireworks pose quite a problem for the turtles.
Firework watchers should be careful to properly dispose of garbage; otherwise it may end up in a sea turtle’s stomach. In addition, boaters should be careful of where they anchor their boats, as many times spectators drop their anchors on coral reefs, some of which contain coral species that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
So if you’re boating in Florida, be careful to drop your anchor on a soft, sandy bottom, instead of hard bottom areas where the reefs are found. And if you see a turtle crawling ashore, keep your distance and alert authorities, who have promised to have plans in place for any turtles on the beach. Also, as always, make sure you clean up after yourself after the fireworks are over. Here’s to spectacular fireworks and an awesome Fourth of July!