Restoring the Spiny Softshell Turtle Habitat in Lake Champlain Region

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Valérie René, Lyne Bouthillier, Nicolas Roy

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The Spiny Softshell Turtle is a threatened species in southern Quebec that has been victim of habitat  loss due to conversion of land for agricultural use. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has partnered with Quebec’s ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) in order to restore its habitat in the Lake Champlain region. An agricultural land used for corn production was protected and rewilded to insure protection of water quality and wildlife habitat. Restoration work included the planting of over 2 500 trees to recreate an exceptional forest ecosystem where swamp white oak prevails. Wildlife friendly agricultural practices have also been put in place for demonstration and scientific purposes. An existing pond was redesigned with specific characteristics fitted for turtles. Successive basins of pits and canals have been created with consideration of future water levels in regard of climate change projections for the horizon 2040-2070. Mounds, logs and flat stones have also been set up so that the turtles can bask in the sun. MFFP has been conducting telemetric surveys that show use of the pond by spiny softshell turtle and map turtle. This has provided important knowledge as we are planning to create a second pond in order to restore even more land.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program