What is Turtle-Friendly Lighting?
Turtle-friendly lighting is lighting specifically designed to minimize the ecological impact that traditional lighting can have on turtles and wildlife, especially near oceans and beaches. These guidelines provide helpful information for property owners living near beachfront areas. Lighting must be set to a certain (amber) wavelength, must be shielded and kept low to the ground and low-wattage. Sea turtle lighting ordinances may be viewed in the diagram to the right. Complete turtle-friendly lighting requirements are outlined by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the exact requirements may be downloaded in the PDF below.
Download FWC Sea Turtle Lighting Guidelines
Turtle Friendly Lighting: On a Different Wavelength
Unlike the light emitted from standard fixtures, Access Fixtures LED turtle friendly lights are not measured by Kelvin temperature. Instead, these fixtures are set to a peak wavelength of 590 nanometers. This is a crucial element because this specific range ensures that the light is not visible to these animals.
Although a naturally dark environment is the only way of fully protecting these animals from light pollution, there is no direct substitute that emulates this natural environment that also appropriately illuminates public areas. These fixtures do, however, reduce light pollution in public spaces where artificial lighting is in excess.
Typically, animals use the presence or absence of natural light (often the moon) as a directional guide. For instance, when baby turtles hatch on the beach, they know instinctively to follow the white light of the moon back to the ocean. If a housing development has white LED lights in its parking lot, the turtle hatchlings may head toward it instead of the ocean. With wildlife and turtle friendly lights from Access Fixtures, there is a better chance the turtles will follow the moon and not the light fixtures.
The Challenges of Turtle-Friendly Lighting
If the Fish and Wildlife Commission mandates that lights must be “low, long, and shielded” in order to be considered turtle-friendly, how does this create challenges to meet regular lighting ordinances and requirements? Sometimes it can be difficult to meet both the requirements of local beachfront jurisdictions and still maintain appropriate light levels. There are ways to accomplish this. For example, Access Fixtures was asked to create a lighting solution for a property owner who needed turtle-friendly lighting by their pool. The main purpose of this lighting project was to create a safe area for poolside activities after dark. However, since this pool happened to be located very close to a beach, the lighting also needed to be turtle-friendly to avoid impacting wildlife negatively. Access Fixtures installed full-cutoff fixtures near the pool that were able to throw enough light to guarantee swimmers’ safety while protecting wildlife from straying off course from the ocean.
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Turtle Friendly Bollard Lights
Turtle friendly bollard lights are well-suited to beachfront areas and boardwalks with high foot traffic. Amber light provides lighting for walkways without disrupting sea turtles’ circadian rhythms. Access Fixtures turtle friendly bollard lights are available in multiple wattages, styles, and colors for every need. Our turtle friendly bollard lights are available in the TEFA, LUVO, and CONA styles. Available shapes include square, dome, and round tops. Stainless steel is available for additional protection. Louvered bollard lights work best in directing the light downwards to meet the “low” recommendation from the FWC. In addition, turtle-friendly bollard styles are available with shields if desired or if required to comply with local regulations.
Turtle-Friendly Wall Packs
Turtle friendly wall packs are ideal for mounting on beachfront residences, commercial buildings, hotels, and more. Turtle friendly wall packs must be full cutoff or shielded to allow areas outside of buildings to maintain sufficient levels of illumination without disrupting the life cycles and mating habits of turtles and wildlife.
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