The Coastal Western Painted Turtle is BC’s only remaining native freshwater turtle. Populations of this species have plummeted over the last few decades due to several factors including loss of habitat, pollution, poaching and introduction of exotic species. Because of these and other issues, the Coastal Western Painted turtle is now federally endangered and provincially red-listed. To prevent further declines in populations, the Coastal Painted Turtle Project was formed.
The Project team is made up of several biologists focused on enhancing populations of Coastal Western Painted Turtles. Yearly surveys are conducted to gather data on hatchling survival, population trends and seasonal activities. The team also carries out several habitat restoration projects each year. These include removal of invasive vegetation, planting native vegetation, and placement of large logs in water bodies which turtles use to bask. One of our most successful restoration projects is the construction of nesting beaches.
Suitable nesting habitat is often limited in many areas occupied by turtles. One area in particular is Jerry Sulina Park in Maple Ridge. As we are an NGO, funding for projects is often limited, and we must work on a shoestring budget. Because of this, we were overjoyed when Lafarge Aggregates agreed to donate and deliver sand to our proposed nesting beach site at Jerry Sulina Park. Lafarge’s generosity continued when they offered us the use of a bobcat and a team of volunteers to help move the sand to the site.
It was a great experience working with Lafarge to build the nesting beach. The team of volunteers was joyful throughout construction and worked tirelessly shovelling, raking, and pushing wheelbarrows full of sand. The bobcat was invaluable and cut the work time in half. In the end, it took four hours to complete the project which is amazingly fast.
The Coastal Painted Turtle Team is extremely grateful to Lafarge Aggregates and all the Lafarge staff who helped make this beach possible. With this beach, populations of Coastal Western Painted Turtles in the area will increase over the next few years as successful nesting and hatchling survival rates will improve. Without Lafarge, this beach would not have been possible.
Thank you all.
From: Deanna MacTavish & the Coastal Painted Turtle Team.