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Auteur Topic: In het nieuws : Glyptemys muhlenbergii  (gelezen 7528 keer)

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« Gepost op: 5 Oktober 2008, 14:59:51 »

Bedankt Mike Jones

CARROLL COUNTY TIMES (Westminster, Maryland) 19 May 08 Environmental exploration (Beth Ward)
For more than a month, Jeremy Hite and Buddy Kondikoff have been searching the wetlands near the Carroll County Regional Airport for bog turtles, creatures small enough to fit in a person’s hand.
Hite, a qualified bog turtle surveyor, and Kondikoff, a wetlands expert, both with Rettew, a Lancaster, Pa.-based consulting firm, are surveying the current conditions near the airport as part of an environmental assessment.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires the environmental study before any development can take place such as the proposed runway expansion. The study is expected to take 18 months and will determine if development would have a significant impact on the environment.
Wetlands and wildlife are two of the 18 categories that will be evaluated in the environmental assessment.
In the search for bog turtles, Hite and Kondikoff walk through the wetlands, searching through vegetation. Both carry long wooden sticks, which they use to try to find turtles hiding in the vegetation and mud.
“We quietly walk through the wetlands and look for them basking or foraging around,” he said.
Part of the process is also setting traps for about two weeks, which they visit every day, Hite said.
Hite said there are strict protocols that must be followed when surveying for bog turtles. The turtles are on the state and federal threatened species list, a step below an endangered species designation.
Scott Smith, an ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and a bog turtle expert, helped develop the strict protocols used to survey for bog turtles.
“It’s a very small, secretive turtle,” Smith said. “In order to find them, you really have to look for them,” he said.
The protocols establish when surveys are to be conducted and how many hours must be logged. The surveys must be done between April and June. The protocols also require certain environmental conditions, such as temperature.
May is the time to survey, Smith said, since it is mating season.
“Right now they are very active and very social, which increases the likelihood you’ll see them,” he said.
Although the focus is on bog turtles, Hite said they identify any animals they come across. That information will also be included in their report. Kondikoff said they have found salamanders, frogs and plenty of snapping turtles. However, the two have yet to come across any bog turtles.
“We haven’t seen any, but we are still surveying,” Hite said.
Hite said they are about halfway through the process, which needs to wrap up by June 15. Mid-June is when the turtles start laying eggs and the vegetation becomes too dense to spot the tiny turtles.
Hite said they are still determining the exact acreage of wetlands, but within the wetlands are pockets of potential bog turtle habitat.
Although it depends on the project, if bog turtles are found during a survey, it would put restrictions on a project, Smith said.
“It’s really trying to find a balance between restricting a project’s development and protecting a species,” he said.
A second of three public open houses on the environmental assessment is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. June 9 in Room 003 of the County Office Building located at 225 N. Center St., Westminster. The open house is an opportunity for residents to ask questions and give feedback on the project, according to a county press release.
What are bog turtles?
“The bog turtle [is] characterized by their small size (maximum shell length of 4.25 inches) and the large patches of yellow or orange on both sides of the head. Omnivores, they generally feed on berries and insects, which are ample in their preferred habitat, wetlands that are spring-fed with saturated soils and small amounts of running water.”
Bog turtles are on the state and federal threatened species list, a step below an endangered species designation.

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« Antwoord #1 Gepost op: 5 Oktober 2008, 15:01:47 »

MORNING CALL (Allentown, Pennsylvania) 29 August 06 Turtles are bogging down transportation projects
Hard-shelled critters can be a big headache for road planners. (Matt Assad)
Modern bridge planners have to worry about everything from floods to tractor-trailers to hurricane winds. But if you really want to make them nervous, you need only utter two little words.
''Bog turtles,'' said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. ''Once I hear that, I don't hear anything else. I just know not to hold my breath for that bridge to get built.''
Well, in the case of replacing an Upper Saucon Township bridge, state Department of Transportation officials have devised a way around some of the environmental red tape, officials said Monday during a meeting of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study. Rather than going through what could be an expensive and time-consuming process of testing a wetlands area near the small bridge along Main Street, the state is going to assume the little hard-shelled critters are there.

Bedankt Mike Jones

''For a small project like this, why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to survey the area, when it's cheaper to just protect them,'' said Jerry Neal, PennDOT environmental manager.
So a wetlands area near what's known as the Saucon Creek bridge is officially being deemed a bog turtle habitat. That means before any work crew can churn up even a grain of dirt a special fence will be erected to keep the four-inch reptiles from wandering into the construction site, and a bog turtle specialist will be brought in to make sure none of protected creatures got behind the fence before it was erected.
The $1 million project to replace the 37-foot span is in final design, said PennDOT project manager Bonnie Peters.
Bog turtles are burrowing animals that are only visible on the surface a few months a year, making them difficult to find and particularly difficult for PennDOT to survey. With its distinctive orange markings, they hit the federal threatened species list in 1997, after much of its habitat of wetlands, marshes and wet pastures were filled in or developed. The turtle is also an illegal target for poachers who have been known to sell them for as much as $1,000 each.
While the general public may not be familiar with them, PennDOT is because every project near a potential turtle home has to be surveyed for turtles. The mere possibility of a bog turtle sanctuary near Route 33, in Bushkill Township, delayed a bridge project for several months in 2002. No turtles were found.
And if a turtle is actually found, then the real fun begins. PennDOT's $175 million Route 222 project in Berks County was delayed 18 months by bog turtle habitat in the path of the eight-mile bypass. Not only did PennDOT divert the road around the habitat, but it installed a $2 million plan that included outfitting the turtles with tiny radio transmitters that allowed the state to track their movements and determine if the construction was affecting them.
The bog turtle protection plan around the Upper Saucon Township bridge is one of a handful each year in Pennsylvania, said Bob Anderson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist in State College.
PennDOT could tell you where all the habitats are — but then they'd have to arrest you.
''You realize that if you try to locate this habitat, you could be charged with harassment of an animal, under the protected species act?'' PennDOT spokesman Ron Young asked.
A visit from the turtle police could result in fines of up to $10,000 per offense, plus jail time, Anderson said.
The Upper Saucon Township bridge project is in final design, but construction will not begin for more than a year.,0,7658500.story

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« Antwoord #2 Gepost op: 5 Oktober 2008, 15:02:38 »

Bedankt Mike Jones

NEWS JOURNAL (Middletown, Deleware) 15 February 06 Modern-day tale of David and Goliath - On the mind-boggling trail of the little turtle that delayed mighty DelDot's work on U.S. 301 (Al Kemp)
The bog turtle is a small reptile that spends most of its life hiding in the mud. It emerges long enough to mate and sun itself, then back to the mud it goes. Slowly, of course.
One would suppose the bog turtle models its habits after certain U.S. senators, but that would be selling the bog turtle short.
The bog turtle intends harm to no man, not even DelDOT engineers who may want to pave over its habitat.
While DelDOT awaits expert advice about whether the planned U.S. 301 routes go through actual bog turtle country, there are things you should know:
The bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) is designated a threatened species because people have destroyed much of its habitat.
The creature is caught in the crosshairs of a larger conflict between convenience and conservation going on nationwide. But the turtles have friends in high places. Well, higher than the bog anyway.
Their friends are the certified bog turtle surveyors. They're naturalists and other woodsy folks trained to recognize and evaluate bog turtle habitats. They catch the turtles, photograph them and release them.
Bog turtle habitat looks to an amateur's eye like an ordinary freshwater swamp, but these turtles require a specific mix of water, soil and vegetation before they'll even think about moving in.
According to turtle surveyors, these creatures' only ambition is to mate, zone out and eat slugs, snails and slimy things you don't even want to know about.
They need deep mud in which to burrow, said James White, associate director of land and biodiversity management at the Delaware Nature Society.
White is a certified bog turtle surveyor. He and his wife run a side business in bog turtle surveying.
Wildlife biologist Holly Niederriter is the go-to person in the bog-turtle arena at Delaware's Division of Fish & Wildlife.
When she talks about research methods, you can tell she's spent her share of time in bogs.
She typically starts with a "binocular scan" of the marsh, and then moves to what many turtle surveyors call a "rapid assessment," where she tries to sneak up and grab the turtles. This is harder than it sounds when you're wading through 2 feet of mud.
"We also do something called 'muddling' where we get down on our hands and knees and feel around," Niederriter said.
Another technique, said White, is probing the mud with a long stick.
"You take a broomstick and gently stick it down there. You may hit a turtle. It may be a snapping turtle, and it may be a bog turtle."
Certified bog turtle surveyor Matt Bailey has been poking around marshes with sticks for years.
In early February he was inspecting some potential bog turtle habitat as an independent contractor for the Natural Heritage Program at a site in New Castle County.
As he approached a pool of water at the foot of a rocky hill, a squishy carpet of grasses undulated beneath his feet.
With clipboard in hand and thigh-high waders on his legs, Bailey was in his element. He made sounds of triumph when half of one leg disappeared in the muck.
"This kind of thing is what a bog turtle person salivates about," he reported.
Bailey deemed the habitat ideal for bog turtles. It even smelled boggy.
If developments such as the 301 project displace and eventually wipe out the bog turtle and other species, Bailey said, the balance in the food chain could shift, with consequences that can't be predicted.
A different reptile might take the turtles' place. An invasive plant species may take over. Each event caused by a species' absence would reverberate through the vast web of life on Earth.
"Imagine the Sistine Chapel with just one or two figures on the ceiling," Bailey said.
"Protection of one species' habitat will benefit all the other creatures that use that habitat," he said.
"You could make an argument that the bog turtle is an umbrella species for humans. By protecting them we may save ourselves."
By now you may be wondering: Is a world without bog turtles really a world worth living in?
"Hopefully we'll never find out," said Bailey. "That's my goal."

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« Antwoord #3 Gepost op: 5 Oktober 2008, 15:03:32 »

TIMES HERALD-RECORD (Middletown, New York) 05 February 06 Goats help save rare bog turtles - Dept. of Agriculture funds project (Wayne A. Hall)
New Paltz: When the winter fades, a small herd of goats will attack weeds and brush on a New Paltz farm, girdling any trees with their horns and grinding smaller plants into mush.
And that will help save the endangered bog turtle, a rare, beautiful, dark-shelled, tiny creature with red or yellow splotches on its neck. The turtle fetches $2,500 on the illegal pet market.
The turtle is on the state's endangered list. Now, a new coalition of private landowners, environmental groups and government has reached across simmering property rights arguments to form a save-the-bog-turtle coalition, using a novel habitat guardian - livestock. Goats, to be exact.
President Bush liked this marriage of interests so much he had the grazer folks down to the White House.
At a time when some powerful property rights advocates are trying to dismantle the federal endangered species act, saying it doesn't compensate landowners for preserving listed species, the New Paltz project provides a solution.

Bedankt Mike Jones

Here's how it works. This 65-acre New Paltz farm (name withheld so collectors don't slip the under-4½-inch turtles into pockets), deploys goats, hired with U.S. Department of Agriculture funds, from a Saugerties vendor who raises goats for meat. He trucks them down to the farm. His 30 or so New Paltz-assigned goats chomp away, opening up the overgrown bog turtle habitat every day on about 15 acres, and fatten themselves for market. Plus, the goats leave fertilizer.
USDA (there's also U.S. Fish and Wildlife money in the project) pays for fencing, too.
"It's a win, win," says goat owner John Addrizzo, a retired Brooklyn pulmonologist who got into the goat business because the meat is low-fat and healthy. He made about $7,000 last year from the first year spring-summer-fall goat assault on the New Paltz farm's invasive plants.
Addrizzo calls his goats from his AMA Farm "'Italian lawn mowers."
Biologist consultant and goat guru Jason Tesauro calls them "living brush hogs."
"They can go where brush hogs can't," adds Addrizzo.
If all that's not enough, there's this: The goats even like poison ivy.
The not-for-profit organic farm, says Allan Bowdery, a farm board member, gains from opened-up pastures for its livestock - a handful of cattle and sheep. And it gains, too, from preserving bog turtles that can add to the farm's nature education program for children.
And Environmental Defense, a national environmental organization, has a big stake in saving bog turtle habitat, as does the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which monitors the project.
Says Environmental Defense ecologist Bruce Hammond, "ED is doing these kinds of projects for different species around the country, helping to break down the animosity that has existed about endangered species."
Determined to make the federal and state bog turtle recovery plans work, Environmental Defense is also running mid-Hudson projects in Dutchess and Columbia counties as well as New Paltz.
"We started in New Jersey and have 50 projects there right now, with more than five years of data," says Tesauro, who works with Environmental Defense as a consultant. He identified goat grazing as a likely New York state and New Jersey answer.
"What we found out," he says, "was the goats had almost wiped out giant reed grass." That's a big invader of turtle habitat.
"And what came back was a mat of native low grass," he adds.
Once the goats are done, sheep and cattle can fine-tune the vegetation.
In a perfect bog turtle world, the sun shines on open meadows laced by rivulets of fresh water. A fen, if you will. Nice grassy spots are basking platforms. Soft mud is an escape hatch and winter hibernation quarters. The turtle likes its wetland water not too hot and not too cold.
But it's "pretty hardy," says Tesauro. "If you preserve a bog turtle habitat, they will come (even if there aren't any there right now)."
Trouble is, this habitat is also prime development land, and more than 90 percent of the endangered, tiny reptile's New York state home range is in private hands - putting its future in doubt. It also lives in scattered colonies on parts of the East Coast.
Small enough to splash around in the puddle made by a cow's hoof, bog turtles still manage to make a big fuss. You read about it all the time. Proposed construction on this mall or that housing development needs a green light from the endangered bog turtle (if it's discovered).
Can the bog turtle's survival make it all the way back to the days of 18th-century Pennsylvania Lutheran minister G.H.E. Muhlenberg, a botanist who stumbled across the turtle, which then became known as Muhlenberg's turtle?
It's a survival race against poaching, overall habitat preservation and hard-to-get funding.
Will invasive plants or the goats and their allies win out in bog turtle country?
Once, bison and elk, and long ago, mastodons, did the habitat trimming. Now, livestock agriculture's on an extinction path itself, in the face of sprawling suburbia.
Still, there's a hopeful date for de-listing the bog turtle from the endangered species list; 2050.

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« Antwoord #4 Gepost op: 5 Oktober 2008, 15:04:25 »

Bedankt Mike Jones

TIMES-UNION (Jacksonville, Georgia) 27 June 05 Tiny, rare bog turtles released into the wild of north Georgia (Greg Bluestein)
Roswell, Ga. (AP): Wildlife researchers have released four rare bog turtles into the wild, the first group of the federally threatened species to be let loose in Georgia.
Excited state biologists said last week's release of the 4-inch-long turtles signaled one of the first benefits of an aggressive publicly funded program meant to restore north Georgia's increasingly sparse mountain bog habitat.
The species, believed to be the rarest turtle in North America, once thrived in treeless bogs at the foothills of north Georgia's mountains, where they adapted to the acidic, nutrient-poor soil.
However, as former backwaters became new frontiers for development, the species has been shell-shocked by builders who have drained and later refilled the bogs, wiping out entire turtle colonies in the process. Now less than an estimated 10,000 bog turtles remain on the continent, scattered from Georgia to Connecticut.
To help keep the dwindling population afloat, wildlife groups such as the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, just north of Atlanta, started breeding programs and strapped inch-long receivers to the shells of the recently released turtles to track them.
The scientists, who plan to release three more turtles this summer, hope their work will provide valuable lifesaving information on the mysterious species.
"We're at a place in the condition of the species when we still have time left," said Thomas Floyd, a Department of Natural Resources biologist.
Scientists didn't even know bog turtles lived in north Georgia until one of the turtles was accidentally caught in a bird trap in 1979. After two decades of studying the tiny turtles - which weigh only 4 ounces - state researchers have identified only about 50 of the wily creatures in Georgia's wild, said Ken Fahey, a biology teacher and bog turtle researcher.
The secretive turtles can be tough to spot and even tougher to nab. They roam the muddy boglands through narrow tunnels, scurrying headfirst into the mud when spotted.
"You can be right on top of them and still can't find them," Floyd said.
When they are caught, their petite size is cherished by some pet owners, who have bought bog turtles on the black market for more than $1,000 apiece, Fahey said.
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