Grant: 06-014C
Project Title: Sarasota County Partnership for Lighting Improvement
Project Manager: Kenya Leonard
Organization: Sarasota County (Florida Government)
Grant Amount: $8,617.00
Completion Date: 2007-08-16

Summary: The Sarasota County Partnership for Lighting Improvement Project is a localized effort to address the safety concerns of private coastal interests, while furthering the goals of sea turtle conservation through a public-private partnership for lighting improvement. In an effort to minimize the effects of artificial lighting on sea turtles, Sarasota County has used both grant and allocated funds to retrofit publicly-owned/leased pole mounted, open-bottom, high-pressure sodium Florida Power & Light (FPL) fixtures with those more suitable for use near sea turtle nesting habitat (i.e., full cutoff FPL fixtures or alternative light sources such as low-pressure sodium or red LED light). This project will expand these efforts onto private and commercial coastal areas (condominiums, hotels, and resorts) located adjacent to important sea turtle nesting beaches by retrofitting up to fifty (50) open-bottom fixtures visible from the nesting beach. Such a public-private partnership would minimize the risk of impacts to sea turtles from artificial light while providing lighting necessary for the safety of residents and patrons in parking lots, driveways, and pedestrian areas. This project will allow coastal properties, their residents, and guests to experience how, through cooperation, sea turtles and humans can coexist for the benefit of both.

Results: Nine (9) multi-unit properties and two (2) single-family residences agreed to participate in the Partnership for Lighting Improvement Project. A total of fifty-five (55) fixtures eligible for upgrade were identified on the participating properties. The final total FPL estimate for the subject retrofit work was $11,246.00. While the Sea Turtle Grant provided $8,617, County staff were able to secure an additional $2,629.00 to put toward the project in order to ensure that all properties willing to participate would be included in the project. Once the FPL estimate was received it was determined by FPL staff that each multi-unit property would require a signed contract agreeing to the subject retrofit work. This delayed the project as many of the multi-unit property managers would not sign the contract without the approval of the condominium board of directors. County staff secured all necessary signatures and the FPL Work Order was issued. All retrofit work was completed by May 25. Staff inspected the project sites during routine lighting inspections. In some areas the project was so successful that the fixtures are no longer visible enough to capture a night-time photo of the light source. Below is a sample of photos that clearly demonstrate the improvement at some of the more critical project sites where the fixtures are immediately adjacent to the nesting beach and have had a long history of causing disorientation. (Author: Kenya Leonard)