Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘northern diamondback terrapin’

CWF In The News: Conserve Wildlife Foundation Reports Turtle Garden Success

Friday, September 18th, 2020

by Ethan Gilardi

A rehabilitated adult female northern diamondback terrapin that was released in late 2009 after being injured by a motor vehicle along Great Bay Blvd. © Ben Wurst

Northern Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) are a native species of New Jersey turtle, inhabiting the brackish waters of the state’s coastal salt marshes and estuaries. The survival of the species depends on the ability of female turtles to access safe nesting habitat every summer, a struggle for the species these days with roadways disconnecting large swaths of their habitat. To help give females a better chance of successfully reproducing, CWF partnered with New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife last year to create a half-acre “turtle garden” at a former marina within the Great Bay Wildlife Management Area.

CWF Habitat Manager Ben Wurst took Pat Johnson of TheSandpaper.net to the site recently to survey the success of this new turtle garden and walk through what it takes to save a species like the diamondback terrapin.

Check out the except below!


It’s diamondback terrapin hatching season in the newest turtle garden established by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey in the Great Bay Wildlife Management Area. Project Manager Ben Wurst has been monitoring the 50 or so nests that were created this spring to protect them from predators so the hatchlings could have a fighting chance of survival.

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Helping oysters recover in Barnegat Bay through our crab pot recycling program

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

by Emily Heiser

Last week, Conserve Wildlife joined the American Littoral Society at their annual Parade of Boats event in conjunction with the Operation Oyster program.

Conserve Wildlife, through funding from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, has spent the last several years in a related effort to clean up Barnegat Bay.  Removing derelict crab traps or ghost pots from the bay has been an ongoing initiative.  Ghost pots are lost in a variety of ways including improper rigging to buoys and buoy lines cut by passing boat traffic.

The issue spans not only the commercial crabbing industry, but the recreational industry as well.  The longer the pots sit on the bottom of the bay the more likely they are to serve as a deathtrap for a variety of marine species.  The more marine life that becomes trapped the more the pots continue to attract other marine life.  This is of particular concern for Northern Diamondback Terrapins that frequently investigate these pots looking for a quick meal only to be trapped and quickly drown. (more…)

Diamondback terrapins given ‘head start’, thanks to schoolkids

Monday, July 2nd, 2018
Story by The Sandpaper 

ESTIMATING AGE: Marissa Thomasen shows Bass River School children how she measures the carapace of a terrapin for her data log. Photo by Pat Johnson, The Sandpaper

Giving kids a head start in learning about nature is the point of Head Start Terrapins, a school course started by the Ocean County MATES program and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. Last October, Ben Wurst, CWFNJ project manager for Bass River and Balanger Creek, picked up seven quarter-sized baby diamondback terrapins from the roadside on Great Bay Boulevard, Little Egg Harbor Township.

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Reducing Roadkills of Terrapins in S. Ocean County

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Dedicated volunteers help reduce mortality of adult female terrapins

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Volunteers Elizabeth and Courtney measure the height of a female terrapins carapace.

Now that Northern diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) are officially considered a nongame species, our work to help conserve breeding adult females is more justifiable. Before July 2016, adult terrapins, including egg bearing females, could be harvested during an open season from November to March. With that said, it was troublesome to know that a 15+ year old female that you helped safely cross a road in summer, could be harvested, shipped to Asia and eaten only a few months later… Now, we can rest (somewhat) easy knowing that the hard work of our dedicated volunteers will live on and help the population grow (there are still many threats to terrapins including collisions with boats, vehicles, poaching, drowning in ghost crab pots, etc…) (more…)

Volunteers help clean up critical habitat along Absecon Bay

Friday, November 3rd, 2017
Preservation of declining habitat is key to survival of high marsh wildlife

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Litter, debris and trash dumped at NJDOT Mitigation site on Absecon Bay.

As the sea rises, high areas on the coastal salt marsh will decline or disappear. These areas are higher in elevation and usually consist of more sandy soil. The sandy soil attracts nesting female diamondback terrapins, like many roadsides throughout New Jersey. As we harden shorelines to hold back floodwaters, terrapins will face more dangerous treks to find suitable nesting habitat, unless these high marsh areas are enhanced and elevations raised. For the past five years we have been surveying Route 30 (Whitehorse Pike) during summer months for the occurance of terrapins on the highway. Adult female terrapins enter the roadway while seeking these sandy areas above the high tide line. Most, if not all, do not survive crossing Route 30. (more…)