Lori Johnson has been surveying for wood turtles along one-kilometer stream segments and within nesting habitat throughout Massachusetts to gather data for a regional conservation planning effort from Maine to Virginia. Stream surveys follow a rapid assessment protocol designed by the Northeast Wood Turtle Working Group so that a standardized approach can be used to assess the status of populations from Maine to Virginia. So far this spring, Lori captured and marked 80 wood turtles across 17 sites throughout Massachusetts. Lori also obtained genetic samples from every individual, which will be used to help identify conservation priorities and protect genetic variation.
Lori Johnson is an ecologist at New England Environmental, Inc. and conducts turtle research for the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Lori is a key ATO partner on regional wood turtle conservation planning, and leads a long-term study of common musk turtles (Sternotherus odoratus) in Massachusetts.
Field update from Derek Yorks, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Bangor, Maine
I did a vernal pool walk and talk Saturday, May 30th for a southern Maine land trust that is working locally to conserve habitat for spotted and Blanding's turtles. While setting four traps, I had observed three spotted turtles, and on Saturday I had a single trap with zero, one trap with one, another trap with two, and the fourth and final trap with ten! A great range of age classes here too. An amazing site for sure. Some of it is protected but much of it is privately owned, and in an area that is rapidly being developed. The land trust is interested in conserving more land in this area, and this amazing population of spotted turtles is certainly at risk. Maine IFW helps local land trusts with an interest in rare turtles by providing them with data on here populations occur as well as informing land trusts on what they can do to benefit turtle populations and also evaluating turtle sites (we provide technical assistance but don't directly advocate for preserving particular sites). This area is dotted with many vernal pools as well as some pitch pine bog habitat.
Derek Yorks is a herpetologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and serves on ATO's board of advisors. Derek is a key partner on regional spotted, Blanding's, and wood turtle conservation planning. Contact Derek