Helping Turtles and Turtle Habitats on Your Property
Every turtle is important to protect and to maintain in its natural habitat in order to support turtle populations today and for the future.
It is illegal to harm turtles, take wild turtles as pets or to poach turtles for food- this limits the numbers of turtles in the already limited populations.
If you have good turtle habitats on your property, it is important to protect these habitats by limiting changes and damage to the habitat:
- High boat wakes may damage shorelines in lake and wetland habitats
- Removing plant materials will degrade the key features and undermine the food chain in natural habitats.
- "Cleaning" beaches or shores of debris also removes important features for fishes and turtles
- Walking or driving on sandy nesting areas will damage these areas.
- Filling in wetlands and shores with earth or other materials (any earth works) can damage turtle habitat, but also fish habitat too.
We can find a balance in order to have an aesthetic property while keeping habitats healthy and/or naturalizing disturbed habitats:
- You can put signs and small barriers around nest sites and wetlands on your property
- Direct access points, trails, roads or activities away from important features.
- You can improve turtle habitat by adding features that turtles need and use: you can plant native plants to buffer wetlands and nesting areas, and to attract more species that turtles eat (frogs, snails, bugs); and you can leave dead logs that float in the water as good basking areas for turtles.
- Naturalizing shores can be done in a way that is aesthetic: You can choose native plants and shrubs that maintain views to the lake, flower at different times during the growing season, and also attract pollinators, butterflies and birds. Most native plants have a natural filtration function and provide basic habitat features for native wildlife. And most native plants do not require maintenance of watering or fertilizing. We can help you naturalize your property. The Land Between charity offers Design Your Own Shoreline Garden workshops, or site visits- we can help.
- You can even restore or create habitats for turtles by ponding water in shallow areas, planting native plant species, and by adding good sandy and gravely material in adjacent areas on south facing slopes for nests. BUT, it is important to invite in an expert, or call us, before you alter the natural features and grading on your property.
A great fact sheet from our partners at Scales Nature Park: http://www.scalesnaturepark.ca/Downloads/Helping Guide.pdf
Contact us for a site visit and to help you with a turtle habitat stewardship plan and to identify options for conservation.