Turtle Power

I really couldn’t resist with that title! I’ve been noticing a lot of turtles along the road lately, but didn’t realize there was a whole local movement to protect them:

Turtle crossing: Wilson’s Bay again hosting signs

MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2011

CAPE VINCENT — Yellow signs are popping up near Wilson’s Bay Marsh telling people to watch out for turtles wandering into roadways.

Carol A. Simpson, Cape Vincent, has made it her mission to protect Blanding’s turtles that are on the state’s threatened-species list and come to the area every summer to breed. She said temporary signs were put up this year by her new partners — Ontario Bays Initiative Inc., a Chaumont-based land trust, the town of Cape Vincent and SUNY Potsdam’s biology department.

“I don’t think anybody understands the influx of turtles we see from late May to early July. We’re talking about hundreds of turtles and they are often killed by cars and mowers,” Ms. Simpson said.

Every summer for the past four years, the town has stopped the mowing on Merchant Road and Wilson’s Point Road and part of County Route 6 at Ms. Simpson’s request.

This year, the Highway Department erected six “turtle crossing” signs provided by Glenn Johnson, chairman of the Potsdam biology department, in hopes of reducing the number of roadkills.

“They seem to like the side of the roads to lay their eggs,” said James O. LaPlante, a Fuller Bay resident and chairman of Ontario Bays Initiative.

Mr. LaPlante said two SUNY Potsdam students under Mr. Johnson’s guidance will conduct a study this summer to identify the species and number of turtles in the area.

According to an Ontario Bays Initiative press release, Mr. Johnson, who has been working to reduce Blanding’s turtle road deaths in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties since 1998, proposed that signs be put up to help lower the roadside mortality rate of these medium-size turtles.

The signs will remain up through June to help Blanding’s and other turtle species, such as snapping turtles and painted turtles, which live in the marsh and nest during this time.

For more information on the turtle-crossing project, call Ontario Bays Initiative at 649-6045 or Mr. Johnson at 267-2710.

Photo and article via the Watertown Daily Times


2 thoughts on “Turtle Power

  1. When I saw this article, it made me so happy. Driving back from Wellspring, we saw so many dead turtles by the side of the road. My soon-to-be brother in law adores turtles. My sister said he will cry when he sees them as road kill. When I sent this article to him, I think he further warmed to the North Country. Mwaha! My evil plans to move my family up here are slowly working! 😉

  2. I love articles like this too. While I’m sure people up here in the North Country have been involved in sustainable activities since the beginning of time, they are getting more press now due to the increasingly “green(ish)” vocabulary of the media…but, whatever brings more awareness is ok with me!

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