This initiative will improve our overall effectiveness in conserving, restoring, and managing landscapes critical for the conservation of Blanding’s and Wood Turtles, and other species as appropriate in conjunction with Wood and Blanding’s Turtles, building upon years of dedicated coordination among Northeastern States to identify the most important landscapes and necessary conservation actions for these at-risk species. As part of Conservation Planning for both species funded through CSWG grants, regional Working Groups have identified critical Focal Core Areas for the conservation of both Blanding’s and Wood Turtle, and have outlined necessary conservation actions within each Blanding’s Turtle focal area. This process was completed in 2014 for Blanding’s Turtle and will be finalized by February 2018 for Wood Turtle. This project will allow one or more dedicated contractors familiar with the Conservation Planning process to work directly with both Working Groups to prioritize, implement, and track the most urgent conservation actions both species at the most important sites across the region. Specifically, RCN funds would support a contracted project coordinator to: (A) coordinate with species Working Groups to prioritize at least 30 sites for the creation of dedicated site management teams; (B) ensure and facilitate the implementation of priority site-specific conservation actions including coordination with land protection committees, habitat restoration, habitat management, site-specific technical assistance to landowners; (C) track conservation actions by States for both species in a spatially-explicit database, monitoring progress on conservation goals and identifying areas in need of assistance; (D) refine, track, implement, and distribute best management practices for habitat management and restoration and population management; (E) expand the capacity of Working Groups to acquire funding. Non-federal match will be provided by contracted partners and may be in the form of volunteer in-kind contributions of technical assistance to key landowners and agencies (e.g., NRCS), travel, equipment, waived expenses, reduced rates on contractual service, and the development and distribution of updated habitat management BMPs by non-federally funded state agency staff.
The objectives of the Wood Turtle (WT) project were to advance conservation efforts for the Wood Turtle by identifying, prioritizing, and facilitating the implementation of high-priority actions within Focal Core Areas in the Northeast, tracking the progress of these actions by all partners, revising and distributing Best Management Practices, conducting technical assistance trainings, seeking additional funding, and performing surveys in data deficient geographic locations.
The primary objectives of this project were to advance conservation efforts for Blanding’s Turtles in the northeast by working with state biologists to:
- Identify and facilitate action on site-specific conservation needs at select sites within the Blanding’s Turtle Conservation Area Network,
- Develop and distribute outreach materials about Blanding’s Turtle Best Management Practices (BMPs),
- Help format and contribute to a site action tracking database,
- Develop or update site-specific conservation plans for selected sites, and
- Participate in monthly conference calls with the Northeast Blanding’s Turtle Working Group and other discussions with state biologists, conservation groups, and other stakeholders.