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Posted on: March 15, 2021

Beachfront property owners a key part of sea turtle-protection efforts

To: Residents living along the beach in Atlantic Beach

 RE: Sea turtle protection

The City of Atlantic Beach continues to request your help in protecting sea turtles, as scientific studies conclude that certain types of artificial lighting have a detrimental effect on these beloved and protected animals. Our beaches, in particular, serve as critical sea turtle nesting grounds.

During the May 1-Oct. 31 nesting season, it is important to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of not only the females that come ashore to lay their eggs, but also their nests and hatchlings. Most of you know this all too well, already; we are very grateful for your continued conservation stewardship.

On May 1, 2018, the City of Atlantic Beach began regulating artificial lighting emitted from oceanfront houses and businesses. Turning out lights or closing curtains and shades in buildings along the beach after dark helps ensure that nesting turtles are not disturbed. Also, bright artificial lighting can misdirect and disturb nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings, so beachgoers should avoid using flashlights or cellphones at night.

Here are general guidelines for beachfront residents to keep the beach as dark during the nesting season:

  • Turn off unnecessary lights. Don’t use decorative lighting (such as runner lights or up lighting of vegetation) in areas that are visible from the beach and permanently remove or turn off fixtures that cannot be modified in any other way. 
  • Shield the light source from all areas on the beach and not just from the beach directly in front of the light. This means the bulb, lamp or glowing element of the fixture should not be seen. Replace fixtures that scatter light in all directions (such as globe lights or carriage lights) with directional fixtures that point down and away from the beach. 
  • Use motion-detector lights and set them on the shortest setting.
  • Reduce spillover from indoor lighting by rearranging lamps and other moveable fixtures away from windows or use window treatments to shield interior lights.
  • Plant or improve vegetation buffers between the light source and the beach to screen light from the beach.

For more information and examples of sea turtle-friendly lighting, visit www.conserveturtles.org. For information on local sea turtle nesting, contact the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol at (904) 613-6081 or visit www.bstp.net.

Sincerely,

Shane Corbin, City Manager

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