May marks the beginning of sea turtle nesting season on many of Florida’s sandy beaches. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking beachfront property owners and beach visitors to help nesting turtles and hatchlings by turning off or shielding lights that are visible from the beach at night.
“Making an effort to keep our beaches dark at night is one of the most important things you can do to help sea turtles.” said Robbin Trindell, head of the FWC sea turtle management program. “Even small artificial lights from a house, a flashlight or a cellphone camera can confuse female sea turtles and their hatchlings and cause them to wander off course.”
Florida is a critically important destination for nesting sea turtles. More loggerhead turtles nest here than anywhere else in the continental United States, with 91,451 loggerhead nests counted statewide during the 2018 nesting season. Leatherback and green sea turtles also nest in significant numbers in Florida.
What are the basics of being sea turtle-friendly?
Buildings and other structures along the beach that need lights for human safety can be lit with long wavelength amber LED bulbs in a downward-directed, well-shielded fixture that is not visible from the beach. The FWC tests lights submitted by manufacturers to see if they meet our “Keep it long (wavelength), Keep it low (lumens and mounting height) and Keep it shielded” requirement. Approved fixtures are less likely to impact nesting or hatchling sea turtles. The agency maintains a list of these certified wildlife-friendly fixtures so property owners along Florida’s coastlines can easily find options that work for human and sea turtle safety. The list is available at MyFWC.com/Conservation by clicking on “How You Can Conserve,” “Wildlife Lighting” and then “Certified.”
The FWC works to conserve Florida sea turtles, including coordinating nesting beach survey programs around the state. People can help by reporting sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 1-888-404-3922, #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone or text Tip@MyFWC.com.
Learn more about Florida’s sea turtles at MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle.
Come to Downtown Titusville on May 10, 2019
This event aims to partner with local organizations, vendors, and entertainers to educate the community on the importance of protecting the habitat of Brevard County’s beloved sea turtles. Learn simple things you can do to protect endangered sea turtles with Canaveral National Seashore and Sea Turtle Preservation Society.