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Submit turtle crossing reports to the DNR

Published by Central Office May 16, 2017

Contact(s): Andrew Badje, 608-785-9472

MADISON -- With the spring breeding season beginning for many Wisconsin turtle species, Department of Natural Resources conservation biologists are once again asking citizens to submit their observations of where turtles and other wildlife are found crossing roads.

A spiny softshell turtle seen near a roadside.
A spiny softshell turtle seen near a roadside.
Photo Credit: David Grey

"In a little over four years, more than 1,000 citizens have reported 1,021 turtle road crossings throughout Wisconsin," says Andrew Badje, a DNR conservation biologist who coordinates the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program. "These reports have helped us identify problem areas throughout the state so we can work with road agencies to take steps to make these sites safer for motorists and less deadly for turtles."

Citizen reports help DNR staff identify problem areas throughout Wisconsin. In addition, site history data helps the department collaborate on relevant projects with road agencies across the state.

 Road mortality of turtles is considered one of the leading causes of declining turtle numbers in Wisconsin.
Road mortality of turtles is considered one of the leading causes of declining turtle numbers in Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: DNR

Wisconsin has 11 turtle species and all of them lay eggs in upland nests consisting of gravel and sand. The loss of even one adult female turtle can have a large effect on future population numbers, especially in isolated populations or in species like the wood turtle that can take from 12 to 20 years to reach reproductive age, Badje says.

To report turtle crossings and other turtle sightings and learn more about Wisconsin turtles, visit the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program website (exit DNR).

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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