Santa Rosa County enhances sea turtle protection

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Staff reports

In partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Santa Rosa County recently completed a lighting retrofit project on Navarre Beach to reduce artificial lighting impacts on nesting habitat for sea turtles. The project was funded with Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Phase II Early Restoration funding as part of the “Improving the Habitat Injured by Spill Response: Restoring the Night Sky” project.

The county’s portion of the project aims to reduce lighting impacts to nesting sea turtles along a half-mile stretch of beach. The county worked with property managers, condo associations and Gulf Power to install turtle friendly fixtures and bulbs, including improvements to:

611 gulf front balcony lights on six condominium buildings
33 pool deck lights
31 parking lot and street lights

Grant funds were also used to produce materials to educate the public on County Ordinance 12.14.00, which the county adopted in 2005 to protect the threatened and endangered sea turtles that nest along Navarre Beach. The educational materials provide information on safeguarding nesting turtles and emerging hatchlings from sources of artificial light along the shoreline.

Educational brochures, magnets and window clings informing “Lights Out For Sea Turtles” were distributed to property owners, organizations and at festivals and events. For additional information on this project or to obtain educational materials, please contact Terry Wallace, 850-981-8888.