Officials warn businesses near beach about lights during sea turtle nesting season
By Angela Rozier
Updated 9:39 PM EDT May 20, 2015
They are so concerned they sent a letter to representatives at the Publix Supermarket at 900 North Ocean Blvd. on Hutchinson Island in Stuart letting them know the parking lot lights can be seen from the beach.
County officials released a survey pointing out just how far those lights can reach.
Robert Ernest, the chief operating officer with the Ecological Associates Inc. said that’s a problem primarily for the hatchlings because when they leave from the nest they are orienting to the brightest horizon.
“And typically on a dark beach that’s the light reflecting off the ocean so they know how to get to the ocean, and when you have lights that are landward of the nest that can confuse them and draw them in the wrong direction,” Ernest said.
The letter states Publix should lower, reposition or shield the lights so they can’t be visible on the beach.
WPBF 25 News reached out to Publix officials, who issued a statement that reads:
“We haven’t received any official notice of violation. We did install light blinders at this store location and are in the process of permitting for new lighting fixtures as the ones currently in use are rusted. We are also working with the Florida Oceanographic Institute for the best lighting approach.”
County officials say they will also be sending letters to a local condominium and resident also found out to be in violation.
Publix has 90 days to adjust the lights.by