Turtle-Friendly Lighting 101: A Guide to Protecting Our Endangered Friends

Baby turtles crawl towards the ocean over a beach.

Every year, countless baby turtles make their journey from nest to sea. Guided by the natural moonlight reflecting off the ocean, turtle hatchlings have a clear direction of where to go. However, conventional lighting can disorient these young turtles, leading them away from the sea and toward danger. This phenomenon, known as “hatchling disorientation,” has contributed to the decline of turtle populations globally.

For instance, the Leatherback turtle, which has roamed our ocean for over 100 million years, is now vulnerable to extinction. Similarly, many other turtle populations are critically endangered due to multiple factors, including light pollution. Through turtle-friendly lighting, we can take steps to prevent the further decline of these ancient creatures.

The Science of Turtle-Friendly Lighting

Turtle-friendly lighting utilizes long-wavelength light (typically amber-colored LEDs) because turtles are less sensitive to such wavelengths. This means that while these lights provide necessary illumination for human activities, they are less likely to attract or disorient turtles. By complying with turtle-friendly lighting standards, we ensure that our solar pathway lights and other solar lighting solutions are part of the solution, not the problem.

SOLTECH Turtle Friendly Specturm
Standard Light Spectrum

Implementing Turtle-Friendly Solar Lights

Adopting turtle-friendly solar pathway lights involves more than just choosing the right lights. It’s about strategic placement and operation to minimize the impact on the local wildlife. For instance, when setting up commercial solar lighting for parking lots near beaches can be positioned to minimize spillover towards the ocean, and using timers or motion sensors can reduce unnecessary lighting.

SOLTECH Turtle Friendly Solar Lighting Park Project After image, the park is light up with a amber area light

Turtle-Friendly Lighting Tips

Developers, municipalities, and private property owners can implement several strategies to support turtle-friendly lighting. These tips are designed to comply with environmental guidelines and ensure minimal disruption to marine life while maintaining adequate lighting for human needs.

  1. Reduce Light Pollution: Consider the overall number of lights used in a project. Reducing the number of lighting fixtures can significantly decrease light pollution, making the area less disorienting for hatchlings. It’s important to strategically place lights to maintain safety without over-illuminating the area.
  2. Adding Shielding: Selecting full-cutoff and fully shielded lighting fixtures is key. These fixtures prevent light from spilling upward or outward, directing it downward to concentrated areas where it’s needed most. This greatly reduces the light visible to sea turtles.
  3. Duration and Intensity: The duration and intensity of lighting can also be controlled to minimize impact. Utilizing timers or motion sensors to reduce the operational hours of lights during hatching periods can prevent disorientation during critical times. Lastly, reducing the mounting height of lights lowers their range. Controlling light intensity can also help prevent hatchling disorientation. By reducing intensity, newly hatched turtles can focus on the guiding moonlight to reach their destination.

The Benefits of Turtle-Friendly Solar Lights

Choosing solar-powered, turtle-friendly lights for area lighting not only helps protect turtles but also offers several advantages for contractors and communities:

  • Cost-Effective: Solar area lighting reduces the need for extensive underground wiring and ongoing utility expenses.
  • Eco-Friendly: Solar energy is renewable, helping reduce the carbon footprint of outdoor lighting.
  • Versatile: Solar light towers can be moved and adjusted as needed, making them ideal for both permanent installations and temporary needs like construction sites.

Conclusion

By using turtle-friendly solar street lights at beachfront properties and along coastlines, we can help save thousands of newly hatched turtles from being misdirected. Using proper turtle-friendly amber LEDs can boost the success of endangered marine life currently threatened by conventional lighting practices. Turtle-friendly solar lighting offers the best solution for eco-friendly lighting, resulting in energy-efficient and cost-effective illumination. As the best source of illumination solar area lights align with the well-being of the environment and wildlife alike.

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