Come spring Municipalities/Townships will be looking to address road maintenance after the toll winter has taken and this will include grading road shoulders. Shoulder Grading is a common road maintenance process of leveling and reshaping the unsealed shoulders of rural roads with a grader. Unfortunately, during turtle nesting season, mid May to mid July, it can damage turtle nests and impact species recovery in a localized area.
Although it is understood that maintaining roads and shoulders is important it is the scheduling of this maintenance work and other road works in relation to turtle nesting season that is concerning. The Land Between Charity and valued Turtle Guardian partners collaborated on a very important conservation best practice guide titled,
'TURTLE NESTS-ROAD SHOULDER MAINTENANCE BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES' - A Guide for Municipalities.
It was written by Leora Berman, Aquatilus Consulting and COO, The Land Between charity. Edits by Kari Gunson, EcoKare International 2017.
The point of this best management practice guide and emphasize is on 'turtle conservation and species recovery' as such the importance of scheduling shoulder grading in relation to turtle nesting season is critical to improve the chances for nest survivorship. The turtle nesting period typically begins mid May and runs through to mid July, with June being the peak period for nesting activity. It is hoped that Municipalities/Townships make every consideration possible to schedule and carry out shoulder grading and other maintenance prior to the 'start' of the nesting season and a period 'after' instead of during the nesting season.
Consulting with professionals within the conservation community on timing for this type of maintenance work is highly recommended. As we know education goes a long way to helping the conservation of turtles and other vulnerable species. Please share this best practice management guide even at the risk of someone saying they already have it. This information could help turtles.
If you reside in a Municipality/Township that you see as already demonstrating an understanding of turtles nesting/scheduling shoulder grading and addressing turtle encounters that is amazing. Continue to spread the words by helping neighboring communities follow your communities lead.
If you reside in a Municipality/Township that you feel would benefit from the information contained in the best mangement practice guide could you please take the time to send them a friendly e-mail and attach a copy or print off a hard copy and deliver it in person.
Working together to raise awareness and incorporate conservation minded practices into communities throughout Ontario protects wildlife and promotes biodiversity. Protecting wildlife helps to prevent ecosystems we depend on and benefit from being harmed.