FT LAUDERDALE, FL (2011) – Every year, over one hundred golf-ball size eggs are deposited by female sea turtle’s along Fort Lauderdale’s sandy beaches. It is estimated that nearly 90% of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. occurs in Florida, but often nesting conditions are far from ideal. Despite the hot climate and miles of sand, artificial lighting along Florida’s coastal roadways discourages adult females from nesting and disorients emerging hatchlings away from the warm waters, diminishing their chances for survival.
Due to the decrease in survival rates, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Group of Fort Lauderdale mandated that all coastal roadway lighting adhere to “Turtle Compliance” guidelines. SRA1A, a historic Florida State Road that runs mostly along the Atlantic Ocean and stretches from Key West to Amelia Island, was of particular focus. Turtle Compliance guidelines include positioning fixtures so the light source cannot be seen from the beach, aiming lights down and away from the beach, and eliminating fixtures that allow light to shine in many directions.
The City of Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) worked with Scott Stefan of Municipal Lighting Systems, an MLS Group Company, to establish design standards for future lighting systems along A1A. The design team selected a black Ameron pole and black Vertex fixtures and brackets that were developed specifically for turtle compliance. The initial poles and fixtures were installed in parking lots along South Beach Park, near the Seabreeze Boulevard and A1A split.
Today, visitors and environmental enthusiasts can look forward to the successful migration of hundreds of sea turtle hatchlings as they return to the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.