Over the last three decades, greater attention has been given to one particular plight of sea turtles in coastal areas: Beach Front lighting. Sea turtles coming to the shore to lay eggs will get disoriented by artificial light, which can keep them from nesting. For those that do nest, their hatchlings may be tricked into going toward man-made lighting sources instead of the instinctively attractive starlight or moonlight reflecting off the water. Once traveling in the wrong direction, a hatchling can become dehydrated, be prey for land-based predators, or even be run over by an automobile. GLLS and Day One Lighting has worked closely with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to offer turtle-safe lighting fixtures that accept low-wattage / long-wavelength amber LED sources.
Solutions to Decrease Light-Pollution Affecting Sea Turtles
- Turn off unnecessary lights. Don’t use decorative lighting (such as runner lights or uplighting of vegetation) in areas that are visible from the beach and permanently remove, disable, or turn off fixtures that cannot be modified in any other way.
- For lights that can be re-positioned, face them away from the beach so that the light source is no longer visible.
- Shield the light source. Materials such as aluminum flashing can be used as a shield to direct light and keep it off the beach. When shielding lights, it is important to make sure they are shielded from all areas on the beach (including from either side and on top), and not just from the beach directly in front of the light. Black oven paint may be used as a temporary solution.
- Recessed fixtures should be utilized and/or the light source should be shielded.
- Replace fixtures that scatter light in all directions (such as globe lights or carriage lights) with directional fixtures that point down and away from the beach.
- Replace lights on poles with low profile, low-level lamps so that the light source and reflected light are not visible from the beach.
- Replace incandescent, fluorescent, and high intensity lighting with the lowest wattage amber, orange, or red LED possible to provide adequate light
- Plant or improve vegetation buffers (such as sea grapes and other native beach vegetation) between the light source and the beach to screen light from the beach.
- Use shielded motion detector lights for lighting and set them on the shortest time setting.
- To reduce spillover from indoor lighting move light fixtures away from windows, apply window tint to your windows that meets the 45% (15% recommended) inside to outside transmittance standards for tinted glass (you’ll save on air conditioning costs too!), or use window treatments (blinds, curtains) to shield interior lights from the beach.
To learn more about FWC Sea Turtle Lighting Guidelines Click Here.