When a construction project starts at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, one of the first aspects of planning is how it will effect the Wood Turtle.
Between 75 and 100 Wood Turtles, listed as endangered in the US and in Canada, live on or near the base.
When officials at the base were told about the turtle population, they hired two researchers from the University of New Brunswick to find and protect the turtles. They had to develop a protection plan in accordance with federal law.
The biggest threat to these turtles is traffic, particularly in the spring through the fall, with many getting run over as they move about. Part of the protection plan includes having someone travel ahead of construction vehicles to look for turtles or their habitat.
These protection efforts will keep staff at Gagetown busy for decades. The turtles don’t breed until around 17 or 18 years of age, and Wood Turtles have been known to live as long as 32 years in the wild.
Gagetown’s Environmental Compliance Officer, Noah Pond, says that officials on base are trying to learn the patterns of the turtle so that in the future they can avoid areas on the base when the turtles are active.
A great example of cooperation between big and small, strong and weak.
Photo Credit: US Fish And Wildlife Northeast Region