In partnership with Griffith University, we're doing a study on artificial light at night and local sea turtles.
At Buddina and Mudjimba beaches, we've retrofitted an existing pedestrian light with a motion activated light, that does not impact turtles due to the specific wavelengths of colour emitting from the light.
Buddina and Mudjimba beaches are a popular nesting beach for sea turtles.
The research was done in three parts.
The final survey closed on Monday 13 June 2022.
Where to from here
Our project partners at Griffith University will analyse the
information collected from the three surveys and providing Council will a
summary report that will be included in our future marine turtle conservation program.
Primarily, the results will inform how/when/why we retrofit existing coastal lighting into turtle sensitive lighting. It will help us understand and address community safety concerns.
Secondly, the survey will inform a future marketing strategy that encourages community behaviour change – such as turning off lights that impact wildlife and turtles along the coastline.
TurtleCare and Coolum and North Shore Coast Care monitor turtle nesting along Sunshine Coast beaches each summer.
Nesting turtles are deterred by artificial light at beaches, and hatchling turtles are disorientated by light sources, decreasing their ability to reach the ocean and survive to adulthood.
For the past 7 years Council has been trailing the best commercially available turtle sensitive lighting along the coastline, replacing existing bright lighting fixtures.
Turtles are highly impacted by bright white lights, (high in blue and green wavelengths) which result in turtle disorientation and avoidance of nesting beaches.
In 2021, Council collaborated with the University of Sunshine Coast and the Department of Environment and Science to test several commercially available turtle sensitive lights and their impact on turtle behaviour at Mon Repos, Bundaberg.
The study identified one type of light that had reduced impacts to turtles.
We are now trialling this light at two locations (Buddina and Mudjimba) and in addition have fitted them with motion activation sensors, which switch on only when people are within 100m2 of the light.
The amber red coloured lights turn on when people need light at these locations, and switch off when there is no-one there (and the light is not needed).
They also have a summertime switch, which change them to a white light during Winter time when no turtles are nesting at the local beaches.
A similar approach has been undertaken in Bundaberg at turtle nesting beaches.
This project is a collaboration between Sunshine Coast Council, TurtleCare and Griffith University.
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