Date: April 2, 1998
Contact: Dan Evans
Sea turtle nesting season has begun on Florida’s beaches, and the STSL is shining a spotlight on Volusia County’s failure to adequately protect sea turtles from the harmful effects of artificial lighting. The STSL is urging Volusia County Council Members to deal with the problem of beachfront lighting, which annually kills hundreds of sea turtle hatchlings.
“The county passed a lighting ordinance in 1990 to protect sea turtles, but they need to do a much better job of enforcing it,” says STSL coordinator Dan Evans.
During the past decade, scientists have determined that hatchling turtles are attracted to artificial beachfront lights when they emerge from the nest. If the beach isn’t dark enough, sea turtles become disoriented and often wander into parking lots or roads, where they eventually die. In addition, the presence of many lights on the beach tends to scare off the adult female sea turtles who return to nest on the beaches where they were born.
In an attempt to lessen the impacts of artificial lighting on sea turtles, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection developed a model lighting ordinance for all coastal counties to adopt. While Volusia County’s ordinance is based upon this model, the lack of enforcement by county officials renders it useless – a matter of great concern to many local residents and sea turtle groups in Florida.
During the 1997 nesting season, more than 1,400 hatchling disorientation events were reported on Volusia’s beaches, the worst year on record, and it is unknown how many more occurred without detection. This nesting season (May through October), the STSL will be joining forces with the Volusia Turtle Patrol to ensure Volusia County adequately safeguards the threatened sea turtles that nest on its shores.
In a letter to County Council members, the STSL has asked them to “correct the lack of protection for sea turtle in Volusia county through wise management of beachfront lighting and increased enforcement of the current beachfront lighting ordinance.
As soon as possible, please write the following Volusia County Council Members. Let them know that the protection of endangered sea turtles is very important to you. Tell them to please start enforcing the lighting ordinance NOW as the crucial nesting season begins.
Volusia County Council Members:
Council Member Stan Rosevear, Chair
PO Box 3052
Ormond Beach, FL 32176
Council Member Patriscia Nortrev, Vice Chair
123 West Indiana Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Council Member Pat Petterson
396 Lake Charles Rd.
DeLand, FL 32724
Council Member Jim Ward
5910 Trailwood Dr.
Port Orange, FL 32127
Council Member Freddye C. Moore
575 Fremont Ave.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Council Member Ann McFall
1401 Clipper Terr.
Deltona, FL 32725
Council Member Robert Tuttle
1026 Flagstone Dr.
Daytona Beach, FL 32118