If you’re staying in a beach house Charleston by Exclusive Properties, a new season has officially begun.

The month of May here in the Lowcountry means many things… balmy weather, the end of school for many, graduations, Mother’s Day (DO NOT forget your mom).  Then there’s Memorial Day/the beginning of peak season for beach rentals Charleston, the arrival of Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto… and one of our favorites, loggerhead turtle nesting season!

The season officially began May 1st and will last through the end of October.

As the name suggests, a “Charleston beach house” is a great way to experience the beach, the city of Charleston  –  and also these giants of the sea who use our fair barrier islands to birth their young.

Populations of loggerhead turtles and other varieties of sea turtles were seriously declining for several years.  Thankfully, the public and private sectors woke up to the dire situation.  Thanks to the work of the Department of Natural Resources and many dedicated staff and volunteers, their numbers are starting to rebound.  As a matter of fact, last year showed record numbers of nests.

In a typical year, a thousand or more turtle nests are laid along the 190 miles of South Carolina beaches.  This makes South Carolina second only to Florida in the number of sea turtle nests.

loggerhead babies near your beach house Charleston

loggerhead babies near your beach house Charleston

If you have stayed in one of our rental homes South Carolina during the summer months  –  in one of our Folly Beach house rentals Charleston SC, or especially in one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals  –  you very well have seen a turtle nest cordoned off in the dunes.

Although the season officially began May 1st, Mother’s Day weekend has almost always been when the first nest appears.  But believe it or not, the very first nest was laid on April 30th, on the Isle of Palms.  The latest was today on Kiawah.  To see the up-to-date activity, go to:  http://www.seaturtle.org/nestdb/index.shtml?view=2

If you are staying in a beach house Charleston now or later this summer, in particular a luxury house on Isle of Palms, take note.   You need to be aware of certain laws.  Several ordinances of the City of Isle of Palms are written to offer protection to these magnificent creatures.  They include:

No personal property shall be located within 25 feet of any emergency beach access or any turtle nest.

In addition to any other applicable State or Federal laws, no person shall physically harm, harass, or otherwise disturb any sea turtle (including eggs and hatchlings) or any sea bird (including eggs and young). Beached or stranded sea turtles, whales, or dolphins shall be reported immediately to the City Police Department.

It shall be unlawful for any person to allow a dog to disturb nesting sea turtles, turtle nests or turtle hatchlings.

Most of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals are oceanfront, or very close to the beach.  The main ordinance requires that all exterior lights of our luxury beach house rentals SC be turned off from sunset to sunrise during turtle nesting season.  That’s because artificial lighting confuses the baby hatchlings and the mamas as well.  They mistake it for the reflection of the moon and stars off the ocean, which they use to navigate.  Even flashlights and any small lighting visible from the water or beach can spell disaster for the turtles.  I’ve pasted in the entire IOP lighting ordinance below.

Loggerhead tips when staying in a beach house Charleston

Loggerhead tips when staying in a beach house Charleston

Keep an eye peeled for the Turtle Team near your beach house Charleston 

The Island Turtle Team is made up of volunteers who work tirelessly to mark and protect nests, count eggs, relocate them when necessary, keep an eye peeled for injured or distressed turtles who need hospitalization at the Aquarium, and keep accurate records, all in an effort to ensure successful survival of the species.  The team keeps a website with the latest photos and info on their progress, as well as records of past nesting seasons:  http://www.bergwerfgraphics.com/  And here’s the turtle page on the City of IOP’s website:  http://www.iop.net/turtle-team

Here is the DNR official website, with total nests laid in the state so far this year: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/turtles/lights.htm

So keep an eye peeled for turtles when you’re staying in SC vacation rentals near the beach.  Be sure to turn out those lights.  And as always, contact EP for the best possible beach house Charleston.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

 

IOP regulations concerning your beach house Charleston

IOP regulations concerning your beach house Charleston

 

Sec. 5-4-17. Sea turtle protection; outdoor lighting regulations.

(a)

Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1)

Artificial light means any source of light emanating from a manmade device, including, but not limited to, incandescent, mercury vapor, metal halide, or sodium lamps, flashlights, spotlights, streetlights, vehicular lights, construction or security lights.

(2)

Floodlight means reflector-type light fixture which is attached directly to a building and which is unshielded.

(3)

Low profile luminary means a light fixture set on a base which raises the source of the light no higher than forty-eight inches (48″) off the ground, and designed in such a way that light is directed downward from a hooded light source.

(4)

Development means any existing structure for which a building permit has been duly issued and any new construction or remodeling of existing structures when such remodeling includes alteration of exterior lighting.

(5)

Person means any individual, firm, association, joint venture, partnership, estate, trust, syndicate, fiduciary, corporation, group or unit, or Federal, State, County or municipal government.

(6)

Pole lighting means a light fixture set on a base or pole which raises the source of the light higher than forty-eight inches (48″) off the ground.

Sec. 5-4-17. Sea turtle protection; outdoor lighting regulations (cont.)

(b)

Development. No artificial light shall illuminate any area of the beach other than in compliance with this section. Building and electrical plans for construction of single-family or multifamily dwellings, commercial or other structures, including electrical plans associated with parking lots, dune walkovers or other outdoor lighting for real property if lighting associated with such construction or development can be seen from the beach, shall be in compliance with the following:

(1)

Floodlights shall be prohibited. Wall-mounted light fixtures shall be fitted with hoods so that no light illuminates the beach.

(2)

Pole lighting shall be shielded in such a way that the point sources of light will not be visible from the beach. Outdoor lighting shall be held to the minimum necessary for security and convenience.

(3)

Low-profile luminaries shall be used in parking lots and such lighting shall be positioned so that no light illuminates the beach.

(4)

Dune crosswalks shall utilize low-profile shielded luminaries which shall be turned off from sunset to sunrise during the period of May 1 to October 31 of each year.

(5)

Temporary security lights at construction sites shall not be mounted more than fifteen feet (15′) above the ground. Illumination from the lights shall not spread beyond the boundary of the property being developed. In no case shall those lights illuminate the beach.

Sec. 5-4-17. Sea turtle protection; outdoor lighting regulations (cont.)

(c)

Use of lighting. It is the policy of the City for both new and existing development to minimize artificial light illuminating any area of the beach. To adhere to this policy, lighting of structures which can be seen from the beach shall be in compliance with the following:

(1)

Lights illuminating buildings or associate grounds for decorative or recreational purposes shall be shielded or screened such that they are not visible from the beach, or turned off from sunset to sunrise during the period of May 1 to October 31 of each year.

(2)

Lights illuminating dune crosswalks of any area oceanward of the primary dune line shall be turned off from sunset to sunrise during the period of May 1 to October 31 of each year.

(3)

Security lights shall be permitted throughout the night so long as low-profile luminaries are used and screened in such a way that those lights do not illuminate the beach.

Sec. 5-4-17. Sea turtle protection; outdoor lighting regulations (cont.)

(d)

Publicly owned lighting. Streetlights and lighting at parks and other publicly owned beach areas shall be subject to the following:

(1)

Streetlights shall be located so that most of their illumination will be directed away from the beach. These lights shall be equipped with low-pressure sodium bulbs and shades or shields that will prevent backlighting and render them not visible from the beach.

(2)

Lights at parks or other public beach access points shall be shielded or shaded or shall not be utilized during the period of May 1 to October 31 of each year.

(e)

Enforcement and penalty. Violation of any provision is hereby declared to be a misdemeanor, punishable and enforceable pursuant to the provisions of section 1-3-66.

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