Search and Categories

Here’s The Scoop….Chen And Assoc.. Site

November 17, 2008 by Barbara


Sea Turtles and Coastal Roadway Lighting

‘Many of Chen and Associates clients, such as the City of Fort Lauderdale, the City of Pompano Beach,
and the Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, are looking for ways to address lighting issues along their
coastal roadways. Coastal roadway lighting affects sea turtle habitat by forcing the nesting female
to utilize inferior beaches that may not provide the best environment for hatching and emergence
success of her young. Coastal roadway lighting also impacts sea turtle populations when emerging
hatchlings are attracted landward toward light sources. These ‘disoriented’ hatchlings usually die
from predation, dehydration, heat exposure after sunrise, or getting crushed by vehicles.
Local communities are searching for ways to minimize lighting impacts to sea turtles. Currently,
16 Florida counties and 40 municipalities have adopted a coastal lighting ordinance. The nesting
season for the five species of threatened or endangered sea turtles that call Florida home is May 1 through October
31 in most areas of Florida.
Because there is no single, measurable level of artificial brightness on nesting beaches that is acceptable for sea turtle
conservation, the most effective conservation strategy is simply to use “best available technology.” To protect sea
turtles, artificial lighting does not need to be prohibited if it can be properly managed.
Although there is no single “turtle-friendly” luminary that would be best for all applications, there are methods one
can use and a set of characteristics that light sources should have in order to minimize the threat of light pollution
for sea turtles. Some light-management tactics are as follows:

n Turn off problem lights
n Redirect luminaries away from the nesting beach
n Reduce wattage of problem lighting
n Shield light sources from the nesting beach
n Recess luminaries into fixture
n Lower pole-mounted luminaries
n Plant native dune vegetation
n Use alternative, long-wavelength light sources, such as

low pressure sodium vapor fixtures.
For more information about sea turtles, visit for a manual summarizing guidelines for
minimizing the impact of roadway lighting on turtles.’

Post Division