GULF COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Earlier this week the Panama City Beach Turtle Watch reported an extremely promising number of nests.

Now, Gulf County says they are also on track to surpass last year’s nest count.

Looking down the beaches of the St Joseph Peninsula, the neon tape marking sea turtle nests is impossible to ignore.

“It’s really important for this super nesting season that we’re having, for it to really be a productive hatching season too,” says Jessica Swindall, Director of the Florida Coastal Conservancy.

Last year the sea turtle nesting season struggled due to a series of high surf events.

“We had a direct hit from Tropical Storm Fred last year which took out a lot of our nests so we had a total of 216 nests on our beach last year and we lost 119 to Fred and to Ida so it was tough…”

With much drier conditions in June and July ahead of the peak of hurricane season this year, nest numbers are thriving.

“It varies from year to year on our beach, it is not often we break 200 so its definitely on pace to break 200 this year, turtles have a cycle where they don’t nest every year, and so some years are lower for us some years are higher, and this is definitely a year we’re gonna have a higher total,” says Swindall

As of Friday the 6-mile stretch of beach counted 164 nests, that’s around 28 nests per mile.

The highest ever recorded in this area was 271 nests back in 2016, so the 2022 nesting season is expected to reach second place.

Swindall added that vacationers do a great job of leaving no trace on the beaches, which will only help the turtles come hatching season at the end of July.