Light Pollution Effects on Wildlife and Ecosystems

Source: International Dark-Sky Association

For billions of years, all life has relied on Earth’s predictable rhythm of day and night. It’s encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals. Humans have radically disrupted this cycle by lighting up the night.

Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviors such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.

Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants.

Artificial Lights Disrupt the World’s Ecosystems

Nocturnal animals sleep during the day and are active at night. Light pollution radically alters their nighttime environment by turning night into day.

According to research scientist Christopher Kyba, for nocturnal animals, “the introduction of artificial light probably represents the most drastic change human beings have made to their environment.”

“Predators use light to hunt, and prey species use darkness as cover,” Kyba explains “Near cities, cloudy skies are now hundreds, or even thousands of times brighter than they were 200 years ago. We are only beginning to learn what a drastic effect this has had on nocturnal ecology.”

Glare from artificial lights can also impact wetland habitats that are home to amphibians such as frogs and toads, whose nighttime croaking is part of the breeding ritual. Artificial lights disrupt this nocturnal activity, interfering with reproduction and reducing populations.

Click here to continue reading this on the International Dark-Sky Association’s website.


Outdoor Lighting Basics

Modern society requires outdoor lighting for a variety of needs, including safety and commerce. IDA recognizes this but advocates that any required lighting be used wisely. To minimize the harmful effects of light pollution, lighting should

  • Only be on when needed
  • Only light the area that needs it
  • Be no brighter than necessary
  • Minimize blue light emissions
  • Be fully shielded (pointing downward)

Learn more at www.darksky.org.

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Letter to Folsom re Ecological Light Pollution

Subject: Agenda item 8(a) under New Business of the November 27, 2018 City Council Meeting — Bridge Lighting
Date: 11/27/2018 03:11 PM

Dear Mayor Miklos:

The “presentation on the opportunity to light the upstream side the Lake Natoma Crossing Bridge” implies bringing new lighting to Lake Natoma, American River Parkway, and Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

In a word — DON’T.

Additional night lighting would expand the impact of Ecological Light Pollution to the area.

Theatrical vanity lighting on the bridge is unnecessary and detrimental to the ecology of the area.

The night time environment of Lake Natoma, American River Parkway, and Folsom Lake State Recreation Area should be preserved as much as possible.

Protect, Moderate, Mitigate —

Protect – Protect the night time environment of Lake Natoma, American River Parkway, and Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

Moderate – Should any additional lighting including the proposed lighting be installed, it must be extremely low level and controlled including time of use.

Mitigate – Should any additional lighting including the proposed lighting be installed, other lighting in the area should be reduced.

This topic provides an opportunity for the City of Folsom to embrace reducing night time lighting impacts on Lake Natoma and on the entire region.

Having studied and advocated for reduction in bridge lighting to protect salmon from the impacts of night lighting, I am concerned that this type of lighting may start a bad trend to light bridges in the Lower American River and other in the region.

Dialog on this topic provides an opportunity to the City of Folsom to consider an Outdoor Lighting ordinance such as the City of Malibu has recently enacted.

As I understand the city is well on it’s way to improved lighting with the adaptation of 3000K color temperature for most of municipal lighting.
The International Dark-Sky Association requires 3000K or below to qualify for its Fixture Seal of Approval. Many cities around the world are implementing 2700K for all lighting.

Regards,

Jack E. Sales

California Section International Dark-Sky Association

cc:
Ernie Sheldon, City Council
Andy Morin, City Council
Kerri Howell, City Council
Roger Gaylord III, City Council
Lynda Konopka, Deputy City Clerk

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