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Southern California Sea Turtle Monitoring Project

Community scientists contribute to field data collection for a local Pacific green sea turtles as volunteers with the Southern California Sea Turtle Monitoring Project.

Group of citizen science volunteers

The San Gabriel watershed is a unique urban watershed in Los Angeles County with a special feature: It is the northernmost known home for Pacific green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). The Aquarium of the Pacific has teamed up with the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, Tidal Influence, and NOAA Fisheries conservation and wildlife management groups to learn more about this population of sea turtles. Community scientists volunteer with the Aquarium of the Pacific to collect observational data on these turtles through the Southern California Sea Turtle Monitoring Project.

The community scientists who volunteer for the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Southern California Sea Turtle Monitoring Project contribute observational data, which is used by NOAA, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority to learn more about the sea turtle populations in the river and wetlands areas that comprise the northernmost known year-round habitats for the Pacific green sea turtle. The data collected is recorded and used to understand how many individual sea turtles might be living in the San Gabriel River and to help with additional tracking, protection, and monitoring efforts.

This program provides an exciting opportunity for individuals to participate in helping scientists better understand this local population of Pacific green sea turtles.

Pacific green sea turtles are protected under state and federal law. You can help the sea turtles and other species living in the river by participating in neighborhood clean-ups in local communities, by joining wetlands habitat restoration projects, or by participating as volunteers with the Aquarium of the Pacific. If you notice a sea turtle in distress, please report observations of injured or entangled turtles by calling (562) 506-4315.

Community Science: Sea Turtle Monitoring

Volunteer Application

Spot a Stranding?

The West Coast Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Network is trained and permitted by NOAA to conduct response to stranded sea turtles. If you see a stranded sea turtle in the San Gabriel River or elsewhere, please call their 24/7 hotline at: 562-506-4315. Letting NOAA experts respond to the stranding will allow them to take the turtle to a rehabilitation center (if needed) or tag it and relocate it to a better area. Allowing NOAA to place a simple flipper tag on “out-of-habitat” turtles will help us determine if additional action is necessary for the health and safety of the turtles.

Sea turtle with head coming out of the water
Sea turtle in the water
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