Spanning 20.5 linear miles along Florida’s central Atlantic coast, the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) represents the nation’s most significant land conservation and acquisition initiative to protect sea turtle nesting beaches. The Refuge is unique for its placement within a patchwork of protected lands and among properties that had already been developed.
The Refuge is considered to be the most productive nesting site for Loggerhead sea turtles worldwide. It is the most significant nesting site for Green sea turtles in the continental United Sates. In addition, it is an increasingly important area for nesting Leatherback sea turtles. Loggerhead and green sea turtles are listed as Threatened in the Atlantic Ocean although both are considered Endangered in other parts of the world; Leatherbacks are classified as Endangered throughout the oceans.
The Refuge was named for the late Dr. Archie F. Carr, Jr. to honor his lifetime commitment to conservation and research. With his writings and research, he drew national and international attention to the plight of the sea turtle and risk of extinction if actions were not taken to protect nesting beaches and other dangers at sea.
The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge maintains an important partnership with the University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Research Group. UCF monitoring data regarding the turtle nesting in the eighties provided vital information that led to the establishment of this Refuge. Starting with the leadership of Llewellyn Ehrhart, Ph.D., important sea turtle research has been performed by this group for more than 34 years. The leadership has now transitioned to Kate Mansfield, Ph.D., and exciting new areas of research are being addressed such as the tracking of juvenile sea turtles.