Friday, October 23, 2020

Driving on The Beach During Sea Turtle Season

Sea Turtle Weekly Update

 

 


Photo by Sea Turtle Conservancy | Standard flashlights that emit white or short-wavelength light disorients both adult sea turtles and young hatchlings.

Thanks to all who sent in their comments for the draft of the Sea Turtle Ordinance. Comments were solicited from the public and stakeholders in the County and State and below are some of the comments received. 

Maura Kraus, Principal Environmental Specialist for Collier County“I think you did an awesome job and thank you so much and I hope it does not get watered down.” 

Tonya Long of FWC shared best management practices for driving on the beach and recommends the use of red headlights (either filtered or LED) or fog lights in place of normal white headlights unless it is an active emergency situationnot just an “emergency” vehicle, such as a police vehicle, that is driving on the beach for non-emergency. FWC also does recommend the use of street vehicles for regular beach activities such as lighting surveys, as they aren’t likely to meet the 10 PSI tire pressure recommendedand it can be difficult to see sea turtles or shorebirds from these vehicles at night.  

Submitted Photos | FWC recommends the use of red headlights (either filtered or LED) or fog lights in place of normal white headlights unless it’s an active emergency situation. FWC also does not recommend the use of street vehicles for regular beach activities as they aren’t likely to meet the 10 PSI tire pressure recommendation and it can be difficult to see sea turtles or shorebirds for these vehicles at night.

Section 54-151 (b) is related to shading for emergency car lights on the beach. Marco Island Police Department have rejected the idea that vehicle lights have a red shrouding or equivalent when enforcing Sea Turtle Ordinance. The argument is that it’s a public safety issue. What if there was a body on the beach?

FWC has an entire section on BMPs for operating vehicles on the beach.  

  • Avoid marked turtle nests and shorebird nesting areas 
  • Drive on wet sand at the waterline. 
  • Never drive over dunes or beach vegetation 
  • Avoid wrack line (areas of dense seaweed) 
  • Use lightweight vehicles (ATVs, UTVs) with less than 10 PSI 
  • Drive Slowly 
  • Please stop driving if a nesting sea turtle is observed crawling out of the surf. 
  • If lights are necessary, use fog lights or red filters over headlights (except in emergencies)


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