BY MARCY SHORTUSE- Calls and notifications to Lee County Code Enforcement are still coming in from Gasparilla Island, but this time they’re all about the turtles.
From July 1 until the current date, code enforcement has received 15 documented complaints from people on the island regarding sea turtle lighting violations. It is illegal during sea turtle season – May 1 through October 31 – to use lights along the beachfront, as it can disorient sea turtle hatchlings and send them on a path away from the water. Hatchlings rely on light reflected on the water to make their way to the Gulf after hatching. They almost always hatch at night, which is nature’s way of foiling predators, so the moon shining on the water is their guide.
There were nine lighting violations reported at Gulf Boulevard beachfront homes, one at 3rd Street, one on Gilchrist Avenue, one on 12th Street, one on 17th Street, one on Shore Lane and one on South Harbor Drive.
Field notices were issued in all but one case, in which the homeowner spoke with code enforcement and promised the situation would abate.
If you live in a residence close to the beach, all outside lights must be shut off at dusk during turtle season, and curtains must be closed if there are indoor lights on.
See page 17 for more sea turtle information.
The moral of this story is, make sure you keep the lights off and the curtains drawn at night, unless you want a visit from code enforcement.