Hollywood Asks Residents to Share the Beach with “Turtle Friendly” Lighting

Turtle Nesting season takes place every year from March 1st to October 31st. To help protect the animals, the City of Hollywood has put in place a “Turtle Friendly Lighting Ordinance.” This ordinance is crucial because hatchlings are naturally drawn to light, which can pose a problem in urban beach settings. Typically, hatchlings would head toward the brighter ocean horizon on undeveloped beaches. However, artificial lighting from nearby buildings can mislead them, directing them away from the safety of the ocean. Implementing turtle-friendly lighting is a key strategy to reduce hatchling disorientation and make Hollywood Beach a safer place for these endangered creatures.

In 2023, the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program recorded a groundbreaking 4,785 nests along the county’s 24-mile coastline, including significant contributions from Hollywood Beach. This beach is a preferred nesting ground for three endangered sea turtle species: leatherbacks, loggerheads, and greens. The collective effort to ensure the beach remains a conducive nesting environment is critical for the continuation of these species.

Guidelines for Turtle-Friendly Lighting

To protect our sea turtle population, beachside lighting should adhere to three primary guidelines set by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC):

Keep it Low: Lighting fixtures should be installed as low as possible to fulfill their intended purpose, emitting the minimal amount of lumens needed.

Keep it Shielded: Ensure that light sources are not visible from the beach. This includes interior lighting, which should be obscured with curtains or blinds post-sunset.

Keep it Long-Wavelength: Lights should emit long-wavelength light (560 nm or longer), achievable with amber or red LEDs, without the need for additional filters.

Remember, even the light from cell phones can disrupt the nesting and hatchling process of sea turtles. It’s best to keep phones away if you’re visiting the beach during the nesting season at night.

Turtle Friendly Lighting Recognition Pilot Program

To bolster awareness and adherence to Hollywood’s turtle-friendly lighting requirements, the city initiated a recognition program for compliant property owners last year. This program highlights properties that effectively minimize their lighting impact on sea turtles by following set guidelines, such as using low, shielded, and long-wavelength lighting, and making interior lights invisible from the beach. These measures, alongside the installation of tinted glass or films and the use of curtains and blinds, contribute significantly to the protection of sea turtles during their critical nesting and hatching periods.