As the Fort Myers Beach town council tries to figure out how much new amber lights will cost, and how to pay for them on Estero Boulevard, the first day of turtle nesting season is only 37 days away, and that means lights out.
Perhaps on May 1st Estero Boulevard and all of Fort Myers Beach will be less busy than it is right now, at the peak of season, with less drivers on Estero Boulevard. However, if this year is anything like last year, the people will come, the beaches will be full, and the traffic will be bad.
This map below shows approximately how many lights Florida Power & Light will turn off and night to protect sea turtles from disorientation. At least 50 (circled) lights up and down Estero Boulevard will remain off for 6 months, from May 1st and not go back on until November 1st.
When turtles hatch they get their direction from the horizon, the starlight and the moonlight. One bright light in view of the hatchlings can cause them all to head the wrong way, thinking they may be headed to safety. If they head away from the water, using water little energy they have, they can be crushed by cars, dehydrate, become stuck in beach furniture or bake in the sun. It’s estimated that over 100,000 turtles become disoriented and die in the state of Florida.
Three pages of pictures of businesses and condo buildings were circulated by staff at the last Fort Myers Beach Town Council meeting, including these pictures below. Businesses on the beach are now being reminded to follow the lighting rules on the beach, which you can review HERE.