Sunday, July 25, 2010

Seashore vignettes (2 of 2)

Moving right along, more on roads -- or I should say, off roads. That would be diamondback terrapins, a.k.a. the turtles who cross roads to lay their eggs -- but who historically often don't make it to their nesting grounds because they're hit by cars and other vehicles.

Used to be in July, there were dead female turtles all over the roads near wetlands. These days, at least in the Avalon-Stone Harbor area, it's not happening. And the cute yellow “Turtle Crossing” signs didn’t do it.

These happy changes are the work of the Wetlands Institute, in Stone Harbor. It began, I think, with the Institute’s Terrapin Rescue program, whereby thousands of eggs have been harvested from road- killed terrapins, incubated, hatched, and fed until attaining a size that enables them to return to the wild.

The Institute also pioneered the development of terrain barrier fences to reduce the countless deaths of female terrapins in traffic as they struggle to return to traditional nesting habitats. That program has been adopted by other communities in South Jersey.

Huzzah, Wetlands Institute! (

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