Western Painted Turtle Conservation Project
A biological treasure, the Western Painted Turtle delights many outdoors enthusiasts and visitors to local lakes and wetlands. BC’s only native freshwater turtle, this species is provincially red-listed and federally endangered and is vulnerable to wetland loss and degradation, destruction of nesting habitat, human disturbance, predation and mortality on roads intercepting nesting areas. The Sunshine Coast is home to key remaining populations of painted turtles. However, preliminary research and anecdotal accounts indicate that local populations are declining. By conducting nesting surveys, mark-recapture surveys, presence-not detected surveys and radio telemetry, we are uncovering valuable information about the distribution, habitat use and population structure of painted turtles to guide their conservation on the Sunshine Coast. In addition to the research and monitoring, we are also implementing on-the-ground stewardship and conservation measures to benefit the species, including installation of basking logs, nesting beaches, turtle crossing signs and predator exclosures and working with land-owners to protect turtle habitat on private property.