Authorities Cracking Down on Turtle Friendly Lighting

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St. George Island, FL-- Franklin County is one of the more popular places in Florida for endangered sea turtles to nest.

In 1998 the county passed an ordinance requiring beach-front property owners to install dimmer, turtle-friendly lighting which as Fish and Wildlife Biologist Lisa Lehnhoff explains will prevent them from getting disoriented,

"Lighting has several impacts on sea turtles. So, one it can be so bright that a nesting sea turtle may not want to come up to that beach to nest. And then it could cause disorientation of hatch-lings."

Instead of heading toward the moonlight over the Gulf, the hatch-lings could head toward the bright lights inland, and die.

So Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers like Lenhoff, are trying to make sure property owners know what's legal and what isn't.

"Some counties allow the yellow bug bulbs and some do not. That's why we request that they look at their county ordinance. And then the light fixture. However it's situated on the house, we should not be able to see the bulb or a reflection of the bulb from the beach. So that's a nice guideline to go by."

Those who fail to meet the ordinance could face fines of up to $25,000.

So it's better to ask Biologist like Lisa now and then have a costly penalty later,

"Anybody that has any questions, to please feel free to contact us (Fish and Wildlife Services). We will come out to people's home's or businesses and walk them through the process."