Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) has received three grants awarded by Florida’s Sea Turtle Grants Program to support sea turtle-friendly lighting education and loggerhead migratory research.
Two of the grants focus on educating coastal residents in Florida about the impacts of beachfront lights to nesting females and sea turtle hatchlings and offering options for converting existing lights to amber LED fixtures that minimize impacts to sea turtles.
“It is important for people to see turtle-friendly lighting first-hand,” STC’s lighting specialist Karen Shudes said. “There are several myths about sea turtle-friendly lighting not being safe enough or bright enough, but these are simply not true.”
Artificial lights are a major threat to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings because 78% of Florida’s housing is located in coastal communities. These grants will help STC educate the public on the importance of making sure beachfront homes have the right type of lights to ensure safety for people and sea turtles.
The third grant is studying the migratory routes and foraging grounds used by loggerhead turtles from the Archie Carr Refuge in Melbourne Beach. The goal is to reveal important information about the turtles’ migratory behavior, foraging grounds, and the areas of potential conflict with commercial fisheries or legal harvest of sea turtles.
Currently, there are four turtles being tracked in this research study. Two turtles went to areas that STC had not observed before in the waters off Florida’s Panhandle and to the Yucatan Peninsula.
These grants are supporting critical programs that are increasing knowledge about sea turtles and providing solutions to ensure their survival. The grants were made possible by the sale of the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, which funds Florida’s Marine Turtle Protection Program and the Sea Turtle Grants Program. To learn more, visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.