The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (ACNWR), located mostly in Brevard County, was established in 1991 to protect habitat for the most significant area for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the Western Hemisphere and the most significant area for green turtle nesting in North America.
The number of nests in this area represents 25-35% of all loggerhead and green sea turtle nests in the US. The leatherback turtle, which is one of the world’s largest and rarest sea turtles, also nests here in much smaller numbers. This refuge was named after the late Dr. Archie Carr, Jr., in honor of his extraordinary contribution to sea turtle conservation. The refuge is a result of Dr. Carr’s efforts to bring attention to the world’s declining turtle populations. It seems fitting that STPS continue its efforts to help sea turtles survive in this special area.
The beach within the ACNWF, which lies between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach, is 20.5 miles long. Since this long stretch of beach is located on a barrier island and there are 25 miles between causeways, this has significantly limited population growth/density and created a somewhat ideal nesting beach. It is considered essential to the reproductive success and survival of the 15,000 to 20,000 sea turtle nests that are found here annually. This amount of nests equate to approximately 1 Â½ â€“ 2 million hatchlings. However, only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survive to reproductive age (20-25 years).