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Beachgoers in Alabama receive environmental protection tips

Beachgoers in Alabama receive environmental protection tips
Beachgoers in Alabama receive environmental protection tips

As temperatures rise and schools close, more people flock to Alabama’s beaches for summer vacation. With crowds growing, the Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) is providing important information to help coastal visitors protect themselves and the environment.

“This is a beautiful landscape that we call home on this planet. We share our water and our land with other creatures that are not human, and we must respect their habitat so we can continue to enjoy them in their natural environment,” said Jill Chenoweth, ACF deputy director.

Alabama’s beaches are home to a variety of wildlife, but one of the most endangered species on Alabama’s coast is sea turtles. The state’s sea turtle nesting season runs from early May to late October. During this time, female sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. These eggs are vulnerable to predators and humans who might damage their nest.

ACF’s Share the Beach program aims to mitigate human impacts on sea turtles. This includes monitoring sea turtle nests and hatchlings. This is done by marking all sea turtle nests found in the sand. Beachgoers who come across an unmarked sea turtle nest are asked to call the Sea Turtle Hotline at 1-866-732-8878.

In addition to reporting unmarked sea turtle nests, visitors should fill in any holes in the sand and level any mounds they leave behind so the turtles can get back into the water. Using a turtle-friendly flashlight can also reduce the amount of artificial light that deters the turtles from the sea.

Chenoweth also stressed the importance of keeping the beach clean to protect coastal wildlife. She recommended having a trash bag ready on a beach day to fill with personal trash and also any trash you find in the sand.

“Leave the beach cleaner than you found it. Pick up everything, bring chairs, utensils, toys. Bring a trash bag and fill it with your own trash. Then pick up other people’s trash too. I just put everything in a little pile and when I’m ready to leave, I put it in my trash bag,” Chenoweth said.

Chenoweth also talked about ways to stay safe while on a beach vacation. She mentioned that it is important to learn about the meaning of beach flags, as they indicate the state of the ocean.

· Yellow: Medium danger

· Red: High danger

· Double red: water closed to the public

· Purple: Dangerous marine life

She warned that it is dangerous to go out to sea when a double red flag is flying. Double red flags can indicate dangerous water conditions such as undercurrents and large waves.

“Double red means that the waters are closed to the public and entering the water during this time would endanger emergency personnel and other people on the beach.”

In addition to paying attention to the flags, beachgoers should also be sure to stay hydrated and use sunscreen under the hot Alabama sun this summer.

“I highly recommend using sunscreen before you head to the beach. It needs to stay on your skin for 15 to 30 minutes per second to be fully absorbed,” Chenoweth said.

The Alabama Coastal Foundation was founded in 1933 to improve and protect Alabama’s coastal environment.

For more information and tips to help you stay safe at the beach this summer and minimize your environmental impact on the coast, visit the ACF website.

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