The Town of Hillsboro Beach, Florida has an oceanfront beach which serves as a prime nesting habitat for sea turtles. The sea turtle has been identified as a threatened and endangered species whose hatchlings are threatened at least in part due to the artificial light from beachfront structures.
The Hazard for Sea Turtle Hatchlings
On beaches where artificial lighting is visible, the hatchlings' important journey to the sea is disrupted. Hatchling sea turtles emerging from nests at night are strongly attracted to light sources along the beach. Consequently, hatchlings move toward streetlights, porch lights or interior lighting visible through windows, and away from the relative sanctuary of the ocean. Hatchlings so misled fail to find their way to the sea and succumb to attacks by predators and exhaustion, drying in the morning sun, or strikes by automobiles on nearby parking lots and roads. Quite literally, a single light left on near a sea turtle nesting beach can misdirect and kill hundreds of hatchlings.
Turtle Lighting Ordinance
On September 4, 2007, the Town of Hillsboro Beach passed Ordinance 232 a Turtle Lighting Ordinance. This will allow for protection of the marine turtle nesting habitat, nesting females, and hatchlings. It is the policy of the Town to actively protect the sea turtles, their nests and their hatchlings. No lighting shall be installed, maintained or illuminated on public or private property that would directly illuminate the beach from sunset to sunup during the sea turtle nesting period from March 1 through October 31 of each year. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that all lighting along the beach is controlled so as not to illuminate the beach from sunset to sunrise during this period.
For more information, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
If you believe someone is in violation of the ordinance, you may fill out and submit an online contact form.