Sea Turtle Lighting Workshop set for April 5

Published Thursday, March 30, 2017

The City of Venice is sponsoring a free presentation for the public on sea turtle lighting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 5 in Council Chambers at City Hall, 401 W. Venice Ave. Sea turtle nesting season in Florida runs from May 1-Oct. 31. Five species of sea turtles inhabit the Gulf of Mexico: loggerhead (the most common), green, hawksbill, leather-back and Kemp’s Ridley. Nesting sea turtles had a record-breaking season in Sarasota County last year, building over 2,000 more nests than in 2015, according to data from Mote Marine Laboratory. The total for 2016, 4,588 nests, far surpasses Mote’s count of 2,475 nests in 2015. Venice saw 638 loggerhead nests on its beaches last season, dwarfing the 2015 total of 255 loggerhead and one green. During the nesting season, city ordinances prohibit the use of artificial lights, including flashlights, vehicle lights and lights shining on the beach from windows and walkways of nearby structures. Sea turtle hatchlings are often drawn to light, which consequently causes them to move away from the water instead of toward it after hatching. If hatchlings do not get to the Gulf water right away, they can become dehydrated, are more likely to be eaten by other animals, or may end up in a street where they can be crushed by passing motorists. Sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. It is a viola-tion of the law to touch or otherwise disturb a turtle, turtle nest, egg or hatchling. Please see the flier at right for more information on the April 5 workshop, which will be led by Richard Herren, Biologist/Project Manager with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. There will be handouts and time for audience Q&A. Please join us.

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