FB logoSubmitted by Michelle Forstrom
City of Fernandina Beach Code Enforcement
May 18, 2015 3:00 p.m.

Sea turtles have roamed the oceans for more than 150 million years and up until the last two hundred years or so they were able to do so in darkness with the exception of moon light over the ocean. Let’s help them out the best we can by minimizing the amount of artificial light on the beach!

sea turtleWednesday, May 1st marked the beginning of Turtle Nesting Season. Through October 31st, mama turtles will be coming onto our beaches in Fernandina Beach to lay eggs at night. These females need a quiet, dark beach to nest. Lights can scare and discourage them from coming ashore to nest. If a female fails to nest after multiple attempts, she will often resort to a less-than-optimal nesting spot, resulting in few, if any, hatchlings surviving from the nest.

Beachfront light, and flash lights, flash photography and video equipment, can cause sea turtle hatchlings to become disoriented and wander away from the ocean towards the brightest lights. If sea turtle hatchlings see artificial light, they become confused, can crawl in circles, and often die from dehydration, exhaustion, terrestrial predation, passing cars, or by other animals. Here are some tips to help out during turtle season:

  • Please keep beachfront lighting turned off during the nesting and hatching season
  • Reduce the number of lights near nesting beaches to the minimum. Lighting used for purely decorative purposes should be kept off.
  • Reduce light reaching the nesting beach by lowering shielding, recessing and/or redirecting light sources. Any light source visible to an observer standing on the beach is likely to affect sea turtles.
  • Place security lighting on motion-sensitive switches that keep lighting off when it is not needed.
  • Apply dark window tinting to windows visible from the beach and draw curtain after dark.
  • Replace existing light fixtures with those that emit light less detrimental to sea turtles.

If you happen to see a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings while you are on the beach, stay at a distance (and behind if it is a nesting female) where you cannot be seen by them. While observing remain quiet, keep all lights off, including flashlights, flash photography & video equipment. Do not disturb them in any way. If you find a stranded turtle, call Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch at 904-583-1913.

For more information, please contact Code Compliance Officer Michelle Forstrom at (904) 310-3136 or mforstrom@fbfl.org. Please feel free to visit our website for more information at www.fbfl.us/turtle.

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