In Florida, artificial lighting is a huge problem for marine turtle hatchlings and nesting mothers. Part I of this paper provides background information on sea turtle behavioral patterns in nesting and hatching, while also highlighting the problems of disorientation and nesting deterrence. Part II examines federal and state laws that authorize and delegate sea turtle oversight protections, administer legal and practical protection, and attempt to enforce the laws to prevent sea turtle disturbances or deaths. Part III discusses local ordinance regulations on artificial lighting and comments on the Model Lighting Ordinance in Florida. Part IV analyzes sea turtle law coordination and conservation at the federal, state law, and local ordinance level, while commenting on a local county’s efforts and missteps. Finally, Part V proposes practical initiatives and assistance from citizens to facilitate the state of Florida and its local governments in their effort to allow sea turtles the full opportunity to live safely through the low hatchling survival rate.
Cameryn Justice Rivera, Please Turn Your Lights Off, the Turtles Are Nesting: Ensuring That Federal, State, and Local Laws Help Guide Endangered Marine Turtle Hatchlings in Florida to the Right Source of Light, 27 St. Thomas L. Rev. 186 (2015).