Sea Turtle Lighting Issues
On a natural beach, the lighter seaward horizon guides sea turtle hatchlings to the water. Artificial lights, however, confuse the hatchlings and they wander inland. Lost and disoriented, they soon die from dehydration, heat exhaustion or they are crushed on nearby streets. Lee County itself contains over 40 miles of beach habitat suitable for sea turtle nesting. In an effort to help this threatened species survive, The Town of Fort Myers Beach has adopted and does enforce Sea Turtle Conservation Codes.
The Town of Fort Myers Beach and the State of Florida regulate lighting on the beach during turtle nesting season. The Environmental Sciences staff at Town Hall is available to meet on-site to discuss lighting problems and how to correct them or help select new turtle friendly fixtures. Also contact us for additional sea turtle brochures and other education material for your own information and to give to your guests. For information about Town regulations, please contact Environmental Sciences at 239-765-0202, ext 136.
Sea turtle nesting season is about to begin! The season begins on May 1st and ends on October 31st.
Please click here to view the letter sent to property owners and residents on the beach regarding artificial lighting and beach furniture.
For information about State of Florida regulations please see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Turtle Program website.
Important Lighting Documents from the State of Florida:
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
May 1 through October 31 of each year, Town of Fort Myers Beach residents and property owners must shield all lights that can be seen from the beach from 9pm to 7am. Light can travel great distances so shielding is important to reduce visible light along the beach.
Lights may not directly or indirectly illuminate the beach. Even reflected light can disorient sea turtles. Interior lights can also illuminate the beach. Please close curtains or blinds after 9pm.
Lights visible from the beach alters the critical nocturnal behavior of sea turtles: how female sea turtles choose their nesting sites, how they return to the sea after nesting, and how the newly emerged hatchlings find their way to the ocean.
Motorized vehicles and open fires are not allowed on the beach during the sea turtle nesting season.