SHALIMAR — By late summer, sea turtle-friendly lights should be in place at various Okaloosa County-owned beach parks/facilities on Okaloosa Island and near Destin.

Amber- or red-colored LED lights will replace various white lights at the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier, The Boardwalk and Wayside and Beasley parks on the island, and at James Lee Park in Destin.

Biologists say artificial lights, including white lights, can deter nesting loggerheads, greens and other sea turtles from coming ashore to lay their eggs, as well as disorient turtle hatchlings. The main nesting months are May to October, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A grant of a little more than $409,000 from the state Department of Environmental Protection will pay for the county’s lighting retrofit project. The County Commission on Monday approved a contract with the lone bidder, American Energy Services LLC of Woodlawn, Maryland.

The notice for a contractor to proceed with a project usually is given within a week to 10 days following contract approval, Greg Kisela, deputy county administrator for operations, said Thursday. Once it receives notice, American Energy Services will have 120 days to complete the work.

The county’s sea turtle-friendly lighting ordinance, which received strong support from Girl Scout Troop 676 of Crestview, was adopted by the commission last spring.

While the recently improved county beach accesses No. 4, 5 and 6 on Okaloosa Island include sea turtle-friendly lighting, the county's four other accesses along Santa Rosa Boulevard still have standard lights.

The lighting ordinance “requires we retrofit all public facilities within four years on Okaloosa Island,” county spokesman Christopher Saul said. “We plan to ask for additional state grants to offset the expense of the remainder of the public facilities” and “we should be able to complete everything in the next year or two.”

Eglin Air Force's beach on the island have had sea turtle-friendly lighting in place for at least a decade, Eglin spokesman Mike Spaits said.