Monday, January 23, 2012

Florida History: Could turtles dim the Hillsboro Lighthouse?

By Jane Feehan

The Hillsboro Lighthouse (http://www.hillsborolighthouse.org) has provided a beacon for mariners since 1907. No doubt, sea turtles have been digging nests and laying their eggs on nearby beaches before and since 1907.

Now Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (http://seaturtleop.org/broward), also known as STOP, wants the Hillsboro Lighthouse to dim, alter the direction of or change the color of its light beam. The U.S. Coast Guard oversees lighthouse operations and now, according to the Sun-Sentinel (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-lighthouse-off-20120121,0,6614267.story), is considering STOP’s request, studying options that would help turtle hatchlings avoid the light that leads them astray from the safety of the sea.  

The USCG (http://www.uscg.mil/top/about) touts itself as “a unique instrument of maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship.”  Let’s hope their focus on safety, security and environmental stewardship takes humans into account.

The 142-foot-high Hillsboro Lighthouse, about eight miles north of Fort Lauderdale,  casts a guiding light for more than 40,000 boaters a year who pass through a tricky inlet. Its beam extends 28 miles over the ocean. In 1966, the Hillsboro Lighthouse was deemed to have the third most powerful light in the world with its 5.5 million candle power. In 1979, the structure was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.

Full disclosure: I’ve provided National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation (http://savetheseaturtle.org) with public relations assistance in the past. Sea turtles confront rough times with human encroachment. I get it. But … the beam the Hillsboro Lighthouse throws out helps thousands of boaters – humans.  Let’s hope common sense prevails and its light keeps shining – brightly.
 ------------
Tags: Florida lighthouses, Hillsboro Beach, South Florida lighthouse, inlets, sea turtles





No comments: