Gulf Trace recognized for being sea turtle friendly

sea turtles, gulf trace

Gulf Trace is the first Homeowner's Association to receive the Turtle Friendly Certificate of Recognition. From left to right: Brooke Saari, Marine extension agent for Florida Sea Grant Program with Richard Harrell and Nancy Lewis of Gulf Trace Home owners association.

Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 03:00 PM.


Gulf Trace is now recognized as "sea turtle friendly" by the Florida Sea Grant, a University of Florida-based program in partnership with Florida Board of Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Florida 's citizens and governments.

It was early in 2010 when the Gulf Trace Homeowner's Association became more aware of state and county ordinances outlining the safety standards in regards to the nesting of turtles.

When Richard Harrell, one of the founders and past presidents of Gulf Trace Homeowner's Association, attended a seminar presented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the spring of 2010, he learned about the danger of lights along the seashore.

"Lights emanating from beach side homes confuse both the nesting female as she misinterprets lights for moonlight on the water and her progenies [offspring] as they emerge from their nests months later," explained Harrell.

 "In spite of good trends, the continuing encroachment on our beaches by civilization poses dangerous threats," he added.

Gulf Trace residents got to work by replacing 250 light fixtures from 38 homes with bug lights. The yellow tinted light bulbs reduce the attraction of turtles as well as insects. Harrell credits Nancy and Ron Lewis for taking command of the project.

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