Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins March 1– Lighting ordinances to take effect on the County’s coastline –
BROWARD COUNTY, FL – March 1 marks the official start of sea turtle nesting season. The Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program (BCSTCP) documented a record-setting 3,650 nests on the County’s 24-mile coastline (including the Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park) in 2022. Three species of sea turtles typically nest on Broward’s beaches: leatherbacks, loggerheads and green turtles. Local nesting populations have increased since the BCSTCP began monitoring in 1981.
Artificial lighting is one of the biggest threats to sea turtles in southeast Florida. Hatchlings use natural light from the moon and stars to locate the water after hatching, but artificial lighting near the beach can cause turtles to become disoriented forcing them to crawl toward a roadway and away from the ocean. To reduce the amount of artificial light reaching the beach, local coastal municipalities enforce lighting ordinances during sea turtle nesting season (March 1-October 31). Lighting near the beach should be “sea turtle-friendly” and follow all three criteria established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC):
Keep it low
- Fixtures should be mounted as low as possible to achieve their purpose
- Fixtures/bulbs should produce the lowest lumens (light output) necessary for the task
Keep it shielded
- The bulb, lamp or glowing lens should be shielded from the beach
- Interior lights should not be visible from the beach
- Close curtains, shades and blinds after sunset
- Apply window tint of 15% inside to outside light transmittance
Keep it long (wavelength)
- Fixtures/bulbs must produce long wavelength light (560 nm or longer) without filters, gels or lenses
- Amber and red LEDs are good examples of these types of light
Lights from cell phones can also disturb nesting and hatchling sea turtles. If you visit the beach at night during nesting season, keep your cell phone safely stowed in your pocket or bag.
FWC provides a list of certified fixtures that can be safely installed near sea turtle nesting beaches. Alternatively, you can contact the BCSTCP for assistance with light retrofitting or additional information.
About Resilient Environment
The mission of the Resilient Environment Department is to further the resilience of individuals, the built environment, natural resources and economy of Broward County. This is accomplished by providing climate mitigation and adaptation planning; natural resource planning, management and protection; planning for appropriate land use patterns and housing mix; enforcing environmental, development and construction regulations; delivering animal care protection and adoption services and providing for consumer protection. For more information call 954-519-1270, visit our website or follow us on Twitter.
February 27, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Roche, Environmental Project Coordinator
Natural Resources Division