Conserve Wildlife Blog

Photo from the Field

May 14th, 2012

Volunteers help install innovative new barrier to reduce terrapin road kills

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Last week volunteers from CWF and Exelon-Oyster Creek Generating Station helped to install 1,000 feet of barrier “fencing” along the first stretch of Great Bay Blvd inside Great Bay Blvd Wildlife Management Area. The new barrier is a new design and concept for reptile conservation here in NJ and possibly the rest of N. America. While many other types of barriers have been used by other organizations this type has not. It is a corrugated rigid plastic drainage pipe that was cut in half. It was made in NJ by ADS (Advanced Drainage Solutions) and was purchased through Caterina Supply, a local supplier of the pipe. Funding was provided through a Partners Agreement between Little Egg Harbor Twp. and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (who purchased the pipe). The pipe came pre-cut from ADS and was transported by Eric Schrading with USFWS. To install the pipe we trenched a ditch and then hand dug it to the width of the 10″ pipe. It was then backfilled and screwed together where two pieces met. The main reason from switching from a traditional fence type barrier to this was to reduce future maintenance. Fences are easily damaged by motor vehicles and posts have been stolen or ripped out of the ground, so they take more time to repair throughout the year. This pipe should be maintenance free and hopefully if a car drives over it only minor damage will occur…we hope!!

Volunteers and employees from Exelon-Oyster Creek helped us to install 1,000 linear feet of barrier "fencing" to help reduce road kills of northern diamondback terrapins along Great Bay Blvd. © Ben Wurst

If you’re interested in using this in your own reptile/amphibian conservation project email me and I’d be happy to help in any way possible!

Thank you to all the volunteers, vendors, and partners who help make this project a success!! To name a few: Home Depot of Manahawkin for donating the trencher for an afternoon, USFWS & Eric Schrading for purchasing and transporting the pipe, and Little Egg Harbor Twp. for their continued support of this project.

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2 Responses to “Photo from the Field”

  1. Damian says:

    A real interesting approach to preventing reptiles from moving across the road in certain sections. Although unintended consequences may arise, in particular with drainage issues. As you are preventing reptiles from crossing the road you are also preventing water from draining off the road too. Ideally you would try and develop this type of reptile crossing to be integrated with a bioswale to treat stormwater. Or perhaps you can simply build the bioswale adjacent to the road and build the reptile screening beyond the swale.

  2. Ben says:

    Hey Damian, Thanks. Allowing for proper drainage was a concern at first. Along this particular road is currently not an issue. Just because a pipe is trenched in along it’s edges doesn’t mean water can’t drain off of the roads. In this section of the road the shoulders are actually higher than the road, so if there are drainage issues it’s because of the improper grading of the road and its shoulders. In coastal New Jersey most soils consist primarily of sand so runoff quickly percolates through the soil. We will monitor the site and really this type of barrier is only along 1000 linear feet of the road shoulder. If and when we use this type of barrier in the future we will purchase a corrugated tubing that has perforations in it to allow for drainage through the pipe material (I found out this is available after we had already purchased this material). If it really becomes a problem then we’ll simply drill holes in the lower portions of the pipe to allow for some more runoff.

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