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Sea Turtle Friendly Outdoor Lighting

Electric lighting is a major problem for thousands of sea turtles every year. This occurs along the coasts and beachfront of properties all over the United States. The Sea Turtle Conservancy reports that 90% of nesting sea turtles in the United States occur on Florida beaches. The organization has been working for more than 20 years to tighten guidelines on sea turtle friendly outdoor lighting whereby property owners can only use amber light sources that are visible from the beaches to prevent the hatchlings from becoming disoriented.

LD Lighting is responsible for minimizing light pollution, one of the most significant ecological disturbances to the sea turtle population. Our sea turtle outdoor lighting solutions include low-wattage phosphor convert amber and true AMBER limited wavelength LEDs, combined with appropriate shielding that helps hatchlings navigate to the shore from the nest. Our luminaires not only protect the environment but also offer sustainable and energy-saving options for many years.

Why use Amber LEDs?

Sea turtles have been shown to be less disturbed by certain wavelengths of light. Amber LEDS, which emit long-wavelength light, is less disruptive to sea turtles than white lighting. White light produced by typical area and site lighting contains more blue and can confuse hatchlings that rely on the moonlight for guidance. A 2000 STC survey at Gulf Islands National Seashore found that 45% of nests were confused by the light from nearby shoreline buildings. Low-glare LED sources with proper shielding and amber color help reduce this confusion. Compare the two below.

Sea Turtle Conservation with LD Lighting

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What is wildlife-friendly lighting?

Nesting by adults and hatchlings usually occurs at night. The relative darkness of the dune creates dark silhouettes in the night sky. This screens out celestial lights from stars and moons. However, the relative brightness of the ocean reflects celestial lighting. Sea turtles distinguish between land and sea by comparing the contrast between a darker dune with a brighter ocean. These same cues are used by hatchling sea turtles as they emerge from their nests to move away from the land and towards the water.

Artificial light can cause false crawls and even disorientation. Artificial lights can discourage adult females from nesting on beaches, resulting in fewer nests. Disorientation can also result in the death of adults and hatchlings.

To avoid causing harm to the species, it is important to minimize the light that is directly visible from the beach (coastal properties and flashlights) as well as indirect light (sky glow, reflective light, and interior lights). It is vital for the survival and growth of species to minimize the light that is directly visible (coastal properties, flashlights, interior lights, etc.) and indirectly visible (reflective lighting and sky glow). It starts by removing all unnecessary lights that are only used for decoration and leaving handheld devices behind. The remaining lighting must adhere to the Florida state rules, developed with the help of scientists and technical advisers, in order to reduce the impact of artificial light on turtles.

  1. KEEP IT BASIC: Use low mounting heights, wattages, and lumens. It is highly discouraged to use flood, pole, or spotlighting.
  2. KEEP THE LIGHT SHIELDED: Shield the fixtures so that you can’t see where it comes from. Shielding helps direct light to the ground, where it’s needed.
  3. KEEP IT LONG: Long wavelengths of light (over 560 nanometers) are less disturbing to sea turtles. The narrowband long wavelength light appears amber, red, or orange in color. It does not contain any shorter spectrums.

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Contact LD Lighting to learn more about switching out your warm white-led outdoor lighting to amber during turtle season. It’s easy to switch from warm white LED outdoor lighting to amber outdoor lighting that is turtle-friendly. This is a win-win situation. This is a good decision for the sea turtles and the environment.

We can meet to determine if you are a good candidate for switching your lighting. If you wish, we can schedule the switch back after turtle nesting season.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is so special about Pinellas sea turtle-friendly outdoor lighting?
LD Lighting, serving Pinellas, Orlando and Tampa, pays special attention to the way our energy-efficient outdoor lights are cast. Turtle-friendly lighting is a long-wavelength, shielded light that is directed low, downward, and shielded. Turtle-friendly lighting was designed to reduce the environmental impact of traditional lighting on turtles, wildlife, and oceans.
Our customers on the beach can choose to upgrade their warm white LED outdoor lighting to amber LED to meet their requirements.

When is the nesting season for sea turtles and how long does it last?

The sea turtle nesting season, when it is important to use turtle-friendly outdoor lighting as well as outdoor lighting for sea turtles, begins on May 1 each year and lasts until October 31. Florida beaches are home to 90% of the sea turtle nesting that occurs in the United States. This means that both residents and visitors must do their part to help ensure a successful nesting season for sea turtles.