Chatham-Kent, ON - On April 26, 2021 Councillor Anthony Ceccacci made a Motion to Council to address turtle and reptile road crossings – part of a joint campaign between the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) and the Municipality of Chatham – Kent. “I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside the LTVCA to bring awareness to the integral Species at Risk (SAR) in this area. Conservation begins by working together to protect vulnerable species”, states Mr. Ceccacci.
All of the turtles in Ontario are now designated as Species at Risk, mainly from habitat loss and road mortality as most species move to find suitable nesting and hibernation areas. This Northern Map Turtle spotted on Third line, of Chatham-Kent, near Jeannettes Creek, is an active area that will see additional signage to warn drivers. Other reptiles, like Eastern Foxsnakes, are at risk and are seen regularly around Rondeau Bay, especially in areas such as McGeachy Pond Conservation Area near Erieau as well as the McGregor and Jeannettes Creek watercourses.
The LTVCA’s SAR Biologist will assist the Municipal Road Department to identify active wildlife crossing areas and provide maps on where to best locate signage which will be installed by C-K Roads. This joint conservation campaign aims to mitigate the loss of the species. If you come across a turtle in a trance-like state on the side of the road or gravely areas – please do not disturb it – this is likely a nesting mother. As an important part of the ecosystem, turtles play a key role in keeping rivers and lakes clean and healthy. Some turtle species in this area can live to one hundred years old, so when we protect the species now – we ensure generations to come are also part of a balanced watershed.
Snapping Turtles and Eastern Foxsnakes continue to be feared and misunderstood creatures in the lower Thames valley watershed. This campaign will address common misconceptions about the Species at Risk in this area and how we can all do our part to ensure they have a fighting chance. Please visit social media channels for both the Municipality and LTVCA to learn more about this collaboration and the species involved. Photos provided by Randall VanWagner.
For Further Information Contact:
Randall VanWager, Manager of Conservation Lands and Services.