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Turtle road crossing: Jordan Pond

  • ##Why did the turtle cross the road? To lay its eggs on the other side and create the next generation of Wisconsin turtles. Photo by Heather Kaarakka, Wisconsin DNR.
  • ##Starting late this summer, crossing this road next to Jordan Pond in Portage County will be safer for turtles thanks to concerned citizens and a partnership among local and state agencies and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Photo by Peter Zani, UW-Stevens Point.
  • ##When the Wisconsin Department of Transportation decided to resurface the roadway to improve motorist safety, DNR brought the citizen reports to its attention, along with this map showing the crossing as one of the most dangerous in the state for turtles. Map by the Wisconsin DNR.
  • ##The partners are working together to learn more about turtles in the area and to make the road crossing safer. UW-Stevens Point students trapped turtles to document which species lived in the area, and collected and recorded locations of carcasses. Photo by Peter Zani, UW-Stevens Point.
  • ##The students also collected turtles that were run over by cars and trucks and marked where they were hit. They documented 66 turtle road mortalities in 2015. Map image from Google Earth with data overlaid by Jordan Truell, Augusta Grumdahl and Jefferson Le.
  • ##The DOT design team and partners used that local information, along with research about the design of turtle safety measures, and incorporated them into a safe roadway design that will install a culvert in the existing roadway embankment so turtles can crawl through and safely reach the other side. The red line running perpendicularly across the road shows the approximate location of the culvert; the red lines parallel to the roadway show where fencing will go to keep the turtles off the road. Map image from Google Earth with data overlaid by Jordan Truell, Augusta Grumdahl and Jefferson Le.
  • ##Student turtle wranglers will continue monitoring the site this year during road construction and next year to see how well the roadway improvements are working. The project will help assess the effectiveness of this kind of design for possible use elsewhere. Photo by Peter Zani, UW-Stevens Point.
  • ##Once the fencing and culvert passage is installed, fewer turtles, amphibians, reptiles and small animals are expected to be run over in this stretch of improved highway. Protecting adult female turtles is particularly important because they do not reproduce for the first time until they are several years old to nearly two decades old, depending on species. That late maturity makes it harder for turtle populations to come back from population declines. Photo by Andrew Badje, Wisconsin DNR.
Last Revised: Monday May 24 2016