Sea Turtle Protection Project
In 2018, the Town began implementing steps to protect sea turtles. Phase I has been implemented and 6 turtle friendly lights were installed at locations that ranked highest for hatching misorientations. Although the new street lights were changed to provide more protection to sea turtles, they have not resolved issues with misorientations of sea turtles. Before the Town proceeds to Phase II, the issue with the Phase I lights has to be resolved. Phase II includes installing an additional 6 turtle friendly lights.
Staff is conducting research to see if a lower lumen light can be used or dimmable lights. The Town also acquired a $50,000 grant to address the rest of the street lights along the beachfront.
Staff are also contacting homeowners with homes that have unshielded visible lights in parking areas or on walkways. The Town has ordered magnets to be distributed to educate the public regarding sea turtle protection.
Patrick Brown, Project Manager
Staff met with representatives from Dominion to discuss the 6 turtle friendly street lights that were previously installed and the issues with misorientations that have been reported. Specifically, misorientations occured at the street lights located at beach access 3 and 129 Palmetto. Dominion plans to inspect these lights to ensure they are, in fact, amber turtle friendly lights. The Town does not want to continue installing these specific lights, if they are not solving the issues with misorientation of sea turtles.
In addition, discussions included shielding the lights already installed (there is no shield for the 6 street lights installed and if the town did fabricate and install shields it would invalidate the warranty), changing to a lower lumen light (the new lights appear brighter than the current street lights), converting to dimmable lights, or using a different type of lumineer altogether.
Councilman Kizer, Ms. Hill, and Ms. Viars met with Robert Garvin of Dominion to discuss the issues that the Town had with the sea turtle safe lights at Beach access 3 and 129 Palmetto. Work is ongoing to resolve this issue.