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Conservation IssuesTurtle Fencing at Sturgeon Pond
Herb Lord

Turtle Fencing at Sturgeon Pond
Herb Lord

Last Spring, former WCAS president Rick Dutko kept seeing squashed turtles on the road where Route 129 bisects Sturgeon Pond in the Hamilton/Trenton Marsh; one day he stopped on the busy super-highway and, at risk to life and limb, counted eight dead turtles of two species. Rick and Herb Lord subsequently made several trips to the spot; on May 30 they found seven dead turtles of four species and one dead water snake. The problem seemed to be a combination of the turtles' urge to wander while looking for suitable spots to lay their eggs and the lack of adequate fencing to prevent their wanderings from taking them onto the roadway.

The problem was brought to the attention of the WCAS board, and inquiries were made by Rick and board members to see what was known about the effectiveness of various types of fencing for keeping turtles off roads. Through contacts, newspaper searches, and Joe Pylka's web searches, several reports of successes were found, from as nearby as the Hackensack Meadowlands and as far off as Switzerland. Eventually, based on information, a videotape, and measurements provided by Rick, NJDOT agreed to provide the necessary fencing, which extends below ground level to prevent turtles or other animals from burrowing under it. We were recently informed that NJDOT had installed silt fencing, and had scheduled the installation of permanent fencing for early March. Sturgeon Pond's turtles may have to tolerate a super-highway through their home, but thanks to Rick and some concerned folks at NJDOT, at least their egg laying treks shouldn't be fatal for so many of them this year.



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Last revision: Friday, March 29, 2002 - 09:42 PM