Escambia County’s Natural Resources Management Department was awarded a grant by the Sea Turtle Conservancy for beach lighting analyses and single-family home lighting retrofits on Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.
The grant project will allow a quantitative analysis of lighting conditions on county-managed portions of Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key in support of creating a list of privately owned properties with non-wildlife friendly lighting.
All single-family properties identified during the lighting analyses will be eligible for a cost-share program to help owners retrofit existing exterior lighting to a wildlife-friendly option. The county will utilize grant funds provided by the Sea Turtle Conservancy to reimburse owners up to $56 per eligible fixture and $25 per eligible bulb.
"Artificial lighting is one of the largest threats to nesting and hatchling sea turtles," said Marine Resources Division Manager Captain Robert Turpin. "Bright lights can deter nesting females, while hatchlings often confuse artificial lights with the natural light sources they use to find the Gulf of Mexico. This causes disorientation, leading hatchlings away from the gulf and into danger."
This project complements previous retrofit efforts on the barrier islands, including the 2015 retrofit of Casino Beach parking lot and Gulfside Pavilion, the 2016 retrofit of two Perdido Key condominiums to enhance nesting habitat within Perdido Key State Park and the 2018 retrofit of 6 commercial properties and 18 single-family homes on Pensacola Beach.
Coastal residents and property owners are encouraged to contact Samantha Bolduc with the Escambia County Natural Resource Department at (850) 595-3460 or email@example.com if they are interested in the project. More information about wildlife-friendly lighting and the impact of artificial lighting on sea turtles can be found at www.myescambia.com/seaturtles.
This project was funded by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from the proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at www.helpingseaturtles.org.