NEVER PUSH OR ATTEMPT TO ASSIST STRANDED ANIMALS BACK TO THE WATER! More harm can be done and it is illegal without proper permits. 

South Walton Turtle Watch, LLC

SWTWG is a local non-profit conservation organization that holds a Florida Marine Turtle Permit issued by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). We are permitted to conduct sea turtle nesting surveys on Walton County beaches. We also perform sea turtle nest inventories and respond to sick or injured sea turtles. Funding is provided by grants, donations, fundraising and Walton County TDC.

During sea turtle nesting season, May 1 through October 31, permitted staff and volunteers survey Walton County beaches daily, looking for turtle crawls/tracks, identify species, and position stakes and flagging tape in order to protect nests during incubation. Nests are monitored throughout the incubation period and then inventoried for success.

Data and sample collection is performed and reported to FWC and other research project groups. When responding to stranded, sick, injured or deceased turtles, data and samples are collected. If a stranded sea turtle is alive, we will transport to a permitted rehabilitation facility.

Sea turtle populations have declined due to a loss of nesting and feeding habitats, pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, vessel strikes, and poaching. Sea turtles are a keystone species and can indicate the overall health of our oceans and beach ecosystems. All species of sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. We strive to protect them and their nesting habitats so they can continue to thrive and increase healthy populations.

In additional to our great volunteers, Board of Directors, the TDC, and our wonderful supporters, meet our staff. They’re basically the brains and the brawn behind our organization. Scroll down to meet each one.

South Walton Turtle Watch

Lacie Wegner, Head Turtler

aka “Our Fearless Leader”, is the Permit Holder and oversees all permitted sea turtle activities in Walton County (non state park beaches) and SWTWG personnel. She has been with the organization for 12 years.

Valerie Lofton, Area Coordinator

manages her team of volunteers from Watersound Beach Club to Inlet Beach. Vals has been with the organization for 22 years.

Coming Soon