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Showing posts from September, 2017

Slow Sign and Turtle Time

THEY SAY:

Information Report: April 3, 2017
SUBJECT/REPORT NO: Rare Turtle Recovery, Wildlife Corridor Issues and Roads of Issue at Cootes Paradise
(PW16024a) - (City Wide)

Traffic Issues on Cootes Drive Traffic Operations & Engineering has been working with the Ward 13 Councillor on traffic signage along Cootes Drive. Four (4) traffic signs (with flashing lights) operating during turtle migration season will be installed in the spring of 2017. The migration period for turtles is generally around the months of June, early July and September but can vary due to weather conditions. The traffic signs are useful in alerting motorists of potential turtle crossings on that roadway.

RESTORE COOTES SAYS:

Is it working? Is there any evidence that it is helping turtles or even slowing vehicles?

We're betting it has little to no impact - the light is always flashing, if turtles are present or not, the road is built for speed and it makes it dangerous to slow down.

We hope to find out more…

Poor Spencer Creek

Poor Spencer Creek. Every so often some sort of catastrophe befalls the creek and undoes previous good work to create a healthier ecosystem.

Maybe it's time to do a safety audit along the creek to determine where the next problem might be lurking?

Citizen action resulted in a response to this latest - construction related - incident that released sediment to muddy the waters. See the twitter timeline below:



NEWS SOURCE: https://www.thespec.com/news-story/7578797-bridge-project-spills-sediment-down-spencer-creek/

Counting On Cootes

Thinking about the other evening, tabling at Supercrawl.

I set up for 6pm, and closed up at 10pm: so that's four (4) hours.

Someone with a counter at the front door clicked in 1000 people.

So, average 250 people per hour. (It honestly didn't feel like that many, but I have no doubt about the veracity of the reported number).

I had 22 people stop and sign the actual pledge.

That would average 5 people per hour signing the pledge.

What's that, 12 minutes per pledge on average?

22/1000 is: 2.20% So just over 2% of attendees actually stopped and took an action.

Maybe that's pretty good?

I felt quite happy with the pace and the results. It's something to build on anyway, with almost all those pledgers also agreeing to join our mailing list. Before the event I had nobody on the list, now I am up over 20.

Three reasons we want you to avoid driving on Cootes

This time of year, these baby snappers are trying to get places. They have a rough time as it is, being small and snackable for some predators, and subject to road kill on Cootes Drive and Olympic.

You probably wouldn't notice these when you are travelling in your vehicle at 80 km/h. Yet that's the speed limit on Cootes, which is precisely where so much wildlife lives in the adjacent marsh.

So we encourage you to take our pledge, and limit your drive-time on these roads that cut through a nature preserve. Do it for the kids.

Link to Pledge form: http://bit.ly/ProtectTurtlesCootes
It only takes a minute to do the pledge, and it will generally only add a minute to your drive between Dundas and Hamilton to follow through on the pledge.

Take another look at the baby turtles: there are your three good reasons.

Thanks for your support.

How to help a snapping turtle cross the road (and keep all your fingers!)

Everything you need to know here!

Got a minute to save a (wild) life?

Can you spare one minute for the turtles?
A minute here; a minute there,  time to save lives! 

The other night I had a chat with someone who presented a more complicated routing issue between Dundas and Hamilton. Someone living in the Hopkins Court section of town would pay a higher price in time to avoid Cootes and Olympic (6 more minutes given Cootes would take 8 minutes vs 14 minutes using the York/Osler combo.) But this is the exceptional circumstance. If drivers took alternatives at least for some journeys, it's going to help overall, right?



What do you think? Can you spare a minute or five?

Coldspring Valley Revisited

After I made the time-lapse video and linked to an earlier (prior to de-pave) video I found another way to show the changes visually.

I didn't realize this was possible on Google Maps but I guess I wasn't paying attention: you can use street view to time travel a location back to see its changes over time!

This is useful for our purposes in Lot M/Coldspring Valley: In Google Maps there are 2007, 2011 and 2015 views of McMaster Parking Lot M that show the parking lot before and after the de-pave to create a naturalized buffer between the parking and Ancaster Creek.

If you are curious about this here's what you need to know:

How to view:

Open your google maps appLocate the McMaster campus parking (Lot M)Select street view (drag human figure onto map to activate)Choose a perspective (see example below which gives a good vantage point from above)In the top left corner of the map there is a small timer icon: you can use this to change views to different years of street views. Ha…

For the rain it raineth... some smart people talking about water (and pints)

Less turtle traffic - outreach report from Supercrawl!

Thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers at the Evergreen (Hamilton) Collaboration Station at 294 James Street North we had a great time tabling and meeting people from Hamilton and beyond here for the annual Supercrawl.

22 people kindly filled-out our Pledge to avoid driving on Cootes Drive in order to give the area turtles a fighting chance at surviving; having a four lane, 80km/h divided highway running directly through prime turtle habitat in the protected Cootes Paradise nature sanctuary has got several species of turtles close to extirpation. It's a terrible place for a road, and daily death for wildlife is a reality as a result.

Shout out to Evergreen staff Jay and Allison and the many volunteers for being such generous hosts to so many great community initiatives. It's a lot of work, so thank you for staying start to finish for us!

Small minority will aim to kill reptiles on road

If you were looking for a measure of human depravity, 2.7% might be a useful number.
In a study of drivers at the Long Point causeway in southern Ontario, they found that just under 3% of drivers intentionallyswerved their motor vehicle to run over a snake or a turtle (not real ones, but replicas used by the researchers).

Welcome to the bottom of the barrel of human behaviour!
"We observed 3,015 cars pass by our treatments, of which 66% (n = 2,000) met our spacing requirements. Composition of drivers was 1,592 males and 408 females. Log-linear analysis indicated a 3-way interaction (χ2 = 2376.17, df = 8, p =  < 0.0001) between treatment, gender and fate. Reptile treatments were hit at higher frequencies than either the cup or control.
Male drivers (n = 803) hit reptile decoys more often (n = 50) than female drivers (n = 197, 3)."  I'm not a scientist, so I'm going to check in with my more data-aware collaborators to get a clearer understanding of the research (like…

Taking a different direction to protect turtles in Cootes

Here's an easy thing you can do that will benefit at local risk-turtles immediately. It's as simple as taking a different route to bypass Cootes and Olympic Drive. This small choice will mean turtles and other wildlife in Cootes Paradise will have a better chance of surviving from being crushed under your vehicle tires.

Take the pledge: http://bit.ly/ProtectTurtlesCootes
Often you might not even be aware you've hit a young turtle, or a snake, for example, yet in the case of turtles, each death means this at-risk group is one death closer to extirpation. Turtles take a long time to reach maturity, and most hatchlings never make it to adulthood so you can see the dilemma.

Please take a minute to pledge your commitment to use an alternate route, and help Restore Cootes and other groups do their part to protect our reptile friends. A previous survey showed that 70% of respondents would do this for the turtles. Hopefully you will join them!

Thanks in advance for your support!


Loa…

Taking Turtles to Supercrawl

Restore Cootes will have an info table at this Friday's Supercrawl, tucked in the warm and welcoming Evergreen Community Collaboration Space at 294 James Street North in Hamilton.

We will have Restore Cootes buttons for sale and pledge forms for people who are interested in helping protect at-risk turtles and other species subject to road mortality along Cootes and Olympic Drive in Dundas Ontario.

70% of respondents said they would use an alternative route to protect turtles
Together we can make a difference. In an earlier poll, 70% of respondents said they would use an alternative route to protect turtles, and we want to help you do it!

A biodiversity hotspot, Cootes Paradise is teeming with all kinds of wildlife. The problem is human activity, namely roads and parking lots, creates a hostile and deadly environment for the marsh inhabitants.

I hope you get the chance to drop in and say hello Friday night between sets!

The True Cost of Parking: Obliterated landscapes, ruined cities.

Why we have so much parking and what we need to do to reduce excessive parking areas from the author of the classic The High Cost of Free Parking.

This short video explains the dilemma and offers simple solutions.

Thanks to Alex and Reyna from Turtles of Cootes working group for the link!