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New publication can help you help Oregon’s native turtles

Monday, April 6, 2015

CLACKAMAS, Ore – A comprehensive guide focused on conserving Oregon’s native turtles and their habitats recently was released by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The guide includes Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect and conserve Oregon’s two native turtle species, the western painted turtle and the western pond turtle. Both turtles are classified as “Critical” on Oregon’s Sensitive Species list and identified as priority at-risk species in the Oregon Conservation Strategy. The Strategy is Oregon’s blueprint for conserving the state’s fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Guidance for Conserving Oregon’s Native Turtles Including Best Management Practices is intended primarily for natural resource and land managers, land use planners, and project managers but landowners and the general public can also benefit from this resource. The guide was peer-reviewed and the BMPs are practical and cost-effective so they can be readily used.

The guide can help with planning projects in or near permanent or seasonal wetlands, ponds and other water bodies that are within the known range of native turtles. Actions that involve ground disturbance, changes in water levels, riparian habitat restoration, or use of heavy equipment are just a few examples known to affect native turtles.

“Our native turtles are in trouble – habitat loss, poor water quality, roads that separate aquatic habitats from upland habitats, and competition with invasive species like red-eared slider turtles are just a few threats. We encourage project planners and land managers to use the guide or call ODFW for help when planning projects in native turtle habitat,” said Susan Barnes, ODFW wildlife biologist. Barnes is noted for her work with native turtles.

“There is something each person can do to help our native turtles. Whether it’s creating suitable turtle nesting habitat, knowing how to keep turtles out of an active construction zone, or knowing what to do if you find a turtle crossing a road, we all have a role in turtle conservation,” Barnes said.

The guide was produced by ODFW with significant financial and design contributions from the Port of Portland, technical review by the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group.




Susan Barnes, 971-673-6010
Meghan Dugan, 541-440-3353

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