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Wildlife Friendly Lighting

Artificial lighting can have big impacts our coastal wildlife, including nesting and hatchling sea turtles and the Perdido Key Beach Mouse.

Excessive artificial lights can deter nesting turtles from coming ashore, and may disorient turtles on the beach, leading them into parking lots, pools, roads and other dangerous situations. Disoriented hatchlings that don’t reach the water quickly have lower chances of survival, and may experience dehydration, starvation and predation.

The Perdido Key Beach Mouse is a small, nocturnal mouse that lives in the coastal dunes. At the bottom of the coastal food chain, they rely on the cover of night to avoid predators while foraging. Excessive artificial light can disrupt normal movements and increase chances of predation.

As Florida's coastal communities grow and expand, we must work together to protect our native wildlife and ecosystems from the impacts of human development. 


A condo on the beach shows off wildlife friendly lighting
A beachfront condo demonstrates wildlife friendly lighting, helping to keep the beach and dune environment dark. 

Barrier Island Lighting Ordinance

The amended Barrier Island Lighting Ordinance was passed in July 2023 and includes new regulations for Perdido Key properties south of Semmes Rd and updated guidance for Pensacola Beach properties.  Lighting requirements outlined in the ordinance are effective immediately for new construction. Existing properties on both islands have until January 1, 2028, to come into compliance.

Pensacola Beach: any light directly or indirectly visible from the marine beach must utilize wildlife-friendly lighting described below.

Perdido Key (South of Semmes Rd): all exterior lighting must utilize wildlife-friendly lighting described below and no light may be visible outside the development footprint (permanently impacted area consisting of the home/structure, driveways and parking areas, pools, deck and other manmade features). 

Did you miss our Barrier Island Lighting Workshops? Download the presentation here.


Wildlife Lighting Basics:

Keep it Low: Fixtures and light sources should be mounted as low as safely possible and utilize the lowest wattage or lumens for the intended purpose.

Keep It Long: Bulbs and fixtures must produce long wavelength light (<580nm) without the use of filters or lenses. Long wavelength bulbs appear red or amber in color. Yellow bug bulbs, color changing, or coated novelty/party bulbs may appear the correct color but are usually not the correct wavelength.

Keep It Shielded: Light sources should be enclosed in a full cut off fixture. Appropriate fixtures should shield the light source from being directly visible and prevent light from being broadcasted above the horizontal plane. 

A number of local and chain retailers carry appropriate fixtures. They may be marketed as Wildlife-Friendly, Sea Turtle-Friendly or Dark Sky. For a list of certified and approved fixtures, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website here. 

FWC Wildlife Friendly Lighting Seal

Barrier Island Lighting Survey

Staff conduct annual lighting surveys to monitor lighting conditions on the barrier islands, documenting non-compliant or problematic lighting on residential and commercial properties. Use the link below to view the most recent survey results or search for your property. 

View the Barrier Island Lighting Survey Map Here

Screenshot of the Barrier Island Lighting Survey map

How can you make your home wildlife friendly?

To check if your property may have lighting issues, perform a simple nighttime inspection to document visible lights. Turn on all indoor and outdoor lights. Examine your property from multiple angles, including from the beach if directly on the Gulf.  Take note of any lights directly visible and any that produce a “glow” from light reflecting off surfaces. One or more of the following adjustments may be necessary to bring your property into compliance:

  • Re-position or replace fixtures so that the bulb is no longer visible.
  • Shield the top and sides of exterior fixtures so that the light is directed downward onto your property and away from the beach.
  • Replace incandescent, fluorescent and high-pressure sodium lighting with amber or red LEDs.
  • Plant or improve vegetation buffers between your property and natural areas.
  • Tint beach facing windows and cover windows visible to the beach after the sun sets with opaque curtains or blinds.


Contact Samantha Pitts at or (850) 595-3460.

Pre-Retrofit Lighting
Bright exterior lights and beach-facing windows can light up the beach at night—impacting nocturnal wildlife. 
Post-Retrofit Lighting
Amber bulbs and cut-off fixtures eliminate unnecessary light, keeping our beaches darker, while focusing light where humans need it most. 
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