Current Legal Issues

Let There Be No Light (for turtles)

Marine turtles sometimes referred to as “sea turtles” are either endangered or threatened.  “Hatchlings, scientists believe, have an innate instinct that leads them in the brightest direction, which is normally moonlight reflecting off of the ocean.” Also “an estimated one third of all lighting in the U.S. is wasted”.  “Sky Glow” is bad for turtles. “Use Turtle Safe Lighting – these red lights emit a very narrow portion of the visible light spectrum, which is less intrusive to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings”

“At Gulf Islands National Seashore, approximately half the nests experience a high level of hatchling disorientation. In 1999, 33 of 65 nests (51%) that hatched had levels of disorientation where at least 25% of the hatchlings emerging from the nest cued in on the wrong direction. In 2000, 26 of 58 nests (45%) that hatched were disoriented. This 6% reduction in just one year exemplifies how educating the public about light pollution can directly benefit sea turtles.”  Quotes were taken from:

1-6 Barrier Island Lighting (Pensacola Beach)

(a) Wildlife lighting. Wildlife lighting. Artificial lighting that minimizes the potential for negative effects to the nocturnal behaviors of nesting and hatchling sea turtles and other wildlife. Based on the premise of keep it low, keep it shielded, and keep it long, the following criteria apply:

(1) The light source is mounted as low to the ground or floor as practicable through the use of fixtures such as low-mounted wall fixtures, low bollards, and ground-level fixtures;

(2) The lumens emitted by the light source are the minimal required for the intended application;

(3) The light source is contained within a full cut-off or fully-shielded fixture such that no light is broadcast above a horizontal plane, and the point source of light and any reflective surfaces of the fixture are not directly visible from the beach;


(4) The lamps emit predominately long-wavelength light (>580 nm). These long- wavelength light sources include low-pressure sodium vapor lamps, bulbs marketed to reduce attraction of insects ("bug bulbs"), amber and red LEOs, true red neon lamps, and other lamps certified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as "wildlife lighting."

a. Tinted glass. The glass in all exterior windows and glass doors shall be treated to achieve an industry-approved, inside-to-outside light transmittance value of 45 percent or less. Such transmittance is limited to the visible spectrum (400 to 700 nm wavelength) and is measures as the percentage of light that is transmitted through the glass.

b. Interior lights. Interior stairwells, elevators and enclosed parking garages that allow light to pass through windows or other openings shall utilize wildlife lighting or tinted glass as described in this section.

(2) Specific lighting requirements for Pensacola Beach.

a. Pole-mountedlightsforpedestriansshallonlybeusedforthoseapplicationswhere mounting the lights at lower elevations cannot practicably achieve the required foot candles to conform to the Florida Building Code and a waiver to those Building Code requirements, as provided under State Statute and Florida Administrative Code Rule, has been requested and denied. Where used, these fixtures and lamps shall be properly shielded and may not be mounted at a height greater than 12 feet above the ground. Pole-mounted lights shall not be used for pathway or access area lighting.

b. Lighting of dune walkovers and elevated crossovers to the beach is prohibited seaward of the dune crest.

c. TheuseofmetalhalidelightingisprohibitedthroughoutPensacolaBeach.

d. Temporary lighting of construction sites shall be restricted to the minimal number of

lights necessary to conform to state and/or federal safety regulations (e.g., OSHA).

e. Interior stair wells, elevators and enclosed parking garages that allow light to escape through windows or other openings within line-of-sight of the beach shall comply with the definition of “wildlife lighting”.

f. Roadway, parking lot, and utility leased lighting including “yard” or security lighting within line-of-sight of the beach shall use low-pressure sodium lights (LPS) 55 watts or less and full cut-off fixtures mounted no higher than 25 feet above the ground, or equivalent LED. Additional shielding shall be installed if the light sources can be observed from the beach. High-intensity lighting applications not within line-of-sight of the beach shall use either full cut-off LPS 55 watts or less or full cut-off high pressure sodium (HPS) lights 150 watts or less mounted no higher than 25 feet above the ground.

g. Shouldthelightfixturespracticallypermittedbysection13.23.02failtoprovide sufficient light to comply with the Florida Building Code, alternative lighting may be used provided a waiver to Florida Building Code requirements, as provided under state statute and Florida Administrative Code Rule, has been requested and denied. In that case, a combination of full-cutoff LPS fixtures, full-cutoff HPS fixtures, or LED fixtures, may be used to provide the required level of illumination,


and the most effective light management practices available (best available technology) shall be utilized to minimize light trespass. Conflicts with other applicable state and/or federal laws or regulations may be resolved in a similar manner.

h. Theuseofup-lightingshallbeprohibitedafter10:00PMduringtheturtlenesting season. However, up-lighting associated with building façade illumination may be utilized until midnight during the turtle nesting season.

Even the sand that is permitted to be added to the beaches is regulated:

1-5   Barrier island sand

(a) Approved material. Approved materials are those constructions and landscaping materials whose mineralogical composition is white fine to medium grained quartz sand. However, oyster shell, limestone or white dolomite may be used for road bed or foundation construction if reasonably the same color as approved sand after exposure to the sun and not containing clay or other discoloring, staining or darkening material. For the purposes of this section, white fine to medium grained quartz sand shall have the following characteristics:

(1) Color. A Munsell Color Chart value of 9.25 or whiter and a chroma of 0.5 or less on the 2.5, 5, 7.5 or 10YR scale when checked in an air dry condition.

(2) Grain size. A grain size of 75 percent of the sample by weight between 0.43 millimeters (mm) and 0.08 mm, with the remaining 25 percent being coarser than 0.43mm but not larger than 1.0 mm as described under the Unified Soil Classification System. This corresponds to the number 40-200 sieve sizes for gradation curve analysis.

(b) Prohibited material. Prohibited materials are any darkening, discoloring or staining materials having the ability to permanently (greater than six months) change the color or darken the natural white sands of Santa Rosa Island or Perdido Key, or any approved materials, whenever coming into contact with them. Prohibited materials include any with the following characteristics:

(1) Color. A color darker than the color required for approved materials.

(2) Grain size. A grain size with over ten percent by weight of the sample outside

the range required for approved materials.

(3) Composition or character. Any material which, in whole or in part, is composed of or contains clay or any other substance that would darken, stain or discolor the natural barrier island sands or approved material