Sea turtle nesting season starts May 1; Property owners urged to make sure lighting is ready
Sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 through October 31, and early nesting activity has already been reported in Southwest Florida on Casey Key in Venice and Captiva Island in Lee County.
It’s time now to remind all property owners about the lighting that is required to help protect turtles and hatchlings during nesting season. Conventional lighting scares females from nesting and disorients hatchlings away from the Gulf, leading to exhaustion, dehydration, and death from falling into storm drains, passing cars, and predators.
Long wavelength amber bulbs in downward directed fixtures that shield the bulb from the beach are encouraged everywhere on the island, not just beachfront, because so many structures and vegetation that previously shielded light from the beach are gone due to Hurricane Ian. Besides lighting, it is also just as important to draw curtains closed at night.
Fort Myers Beach has adopted new sea turtle conservation rules as of 2022 when it comes to windows and glass slider doors. Windows and doors/sliders are required to have a light transmittance of 45% or less AND have a window cover installed. Read the Sea Turtle Conservation Ordinance.
Long wavelength amber bulbs can also be found online. Search for “sea turtle amber LED” and the bulb type that you need. It’s important to verify that the spectrum specifications of the bulb indicate 560 nm or greater.
One of the cheapest Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission certified wildlife lighting options that staff have found online is the FEIT A19 Red Bulb that screws into classic Edison fixtures. Please note, filter wraps, gels, and colored party bulbs are not compliant because sea turtles are sensitive to their light.