Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins March 1
HUTCHINSON ISLAND – St. Lucie County asks for residents, businesses and visitors to help conserve sea turtles by practicing sea turtle-friendly practices such as proper beachfront lighting. Improper beachfront lighting can imperil our endangered and threatened sea turtle populations. If one observes sea turtle nest poaching or harassment of sea turtles on the beach, please call 911 or the Florida Fish and Wildlife hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC.
Improper beachfront lighting endangers nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. St. Lucie County enforces sea turtle lighting codes during nesting season which runs from March 1 – Nov. 15. During nesting season, exterior light sources directly visible from the beach or illuminating areas seaward of the primary dune must be turned off between sunset and sunrise during nesting season. Existing artificial light sources should not be directly visible from the beach and cannot illuminate areas seaward of the primary dune. Lights illuminating beach access points, dune crossovers, beach walkways, piers or any other structure seaward of the primary dune designed for pedestrian traffic must be shielded so they are not directly visible from the beach.
To prevent interior lights from illuminating the beach, window treatments are required on all windows of single and multi-story structures if these windows are within the line of sight of the beach. Blackout draperies or shade screens are preferred. Alternatively, approved window tint may be applied to beachfront windows. It is encouraged that people turn out all unnecessary interior lights during nesting season and close curtains and blinds at night.
For additional information on sea turtle-friendly beaches, please contact Ken Gioeli, Natural Resources Extension Agent, at 772-462-1660. For Code Compliance questions, please contact Monica Graziani at 772-462-1553.