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Shade screen project protects turtles from vehicle light

shade fence turtle
Shade screens are being installed in Burnett Heads to protect nesting turtles from light pollution.

Shade screens are currently being installed at the top of sand dunes in Burnett Heads to protect turtles from vehicle headlight pollution as they move up from the ocean to nest.

The project has come to fruition after members of the Burnett Heads turtle volunteer group observed just how much light was being filtered on to the beach area by cars.

Members have collaborated with the Burnett Mary Regional Group to implement more shade screen fencing in the area.

“The Burnett Heads turtle volunteer group has reported vehicles parked on the beach often leave their lights on, illuminating the foreshore causing issues for both the turtles and volunteers,” BMRG project officer Radka Jack said.

“The proposed fix for this issue has been the installation of shade screening at the top of the dunes.

“Shade screens will eliminate low level light sources as marine turtles are vulnerable to disorientation from artificial light.”

Radka said BMRG had not only been working with the Burnett Heads turtle volunteer group but also Bundaberg Regional Council and local businesses to complete light screening fence at Burnett Heads.

“In addition, Gidarjil Land and Sea Rangers weeded and revegetated the dunes along the shore with native vegetation to provide additional safe nesting habitat for marine turtles and stabilise the dunes,” Radka said.

It's not the first time the concept has been implemented in the area, with Bundaberg Regional Council installing a similar fence at Oaks Beach in previous years.

shade fence turtle
The project is a continuation of shade fencing completed by Council previously.

“This is an extension of the original fence project,” Radka said.

“The fence is made of long lasting recycled plastic and total of length of 40 metres will be installed at two sections measuring 25 metres and 15 metres along the Sea Esplanade.”

The turtle shade screen project has been funded by the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science as a part of the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program.

The installation will be completed by early next year.

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