Skip to main content

The Bad News Turtles

RBG asks city to help protect Cootes turtles

Hamilton Spectator
By Matthew Van Dongen

The city is being asked to cut speed limits and erect wildlife fences to help save rare turtles from death-by-motorist along Cootes Drive and Olympic Drive.

The Royal Botanical Gardens has spent five years working on a recovery plan for turtles around Cootes Paradise and area marshes.

An estimated 1,500 turtles remain there.

Dozens have been killed along Cootes Drive and Olympic Drive over the last several years, according to a map presented by RBG natural lands head Tys Theysmeyer at the public works committee Tuesday.

The city can help head off those deaths, he said, by reducing the speed limit along Cootes Drive to 60 km/h from 80 and setting up wildlife fences to "redirect" turtles intent on heading from the marsh to high ground to nest.

"We think it would make a significant difference," Theysmeyer said after the meeting. "Slowing down at least gives you (the motorist) a chance to realize you're about to squash a turtle."

Experimental fencing already set up in the area by the RBG has proven effective, he added.

Other suggestions pitched Tuesday include:
  • a slight relocating of the Dundas Community Garden, which has proven a popular nesting ground for turtles;
  • cleanup of historic contamination in the west end of the Desjardins canal;
  • removal of an old weir and other infrastructure replacement in the canal;
  • creation of a wildlife corridor committee to study and deal with hot spots for turtle kills based on the latest road death statistics.
City staff will report back on the recommendations, but not before the upcoming election.

mvandongen@thespec.com
905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Turtle Trouble on World Turtle Day

A new virus infecting the local turtle population, road mortality as cars and trucks continue their shell-crushing trips down Cootes Drive.

Yes, it's WORLD TURTLE DAYand things are admittedly pretty bad for our slow-moving reptile friends.

That means it's time to make some changes!
Why not start with things we can easily control, like our own behaviour. Driving along Cootes?

Pledge now to use an alternate route
(click on the link above to take the pledge!)
A minute or two will save lives!





Coldspring Valley History Hike: Water Innovation Week

We're heading back out to share the history of this former floodplain/nature sanctuary, and take a look at the rehabilitated future of this contested site in McMaster's west campus. Can we really depave Paradise? It's happening!

Register on Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/waterweekwalk2017 (by donation)




History Hike in West Campus Tuesday, September 11 at 2pm

We're going on a hike to introduce McMaster students (and any other interested participants) to this former RBG Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary and coldwater creek floodplain  - currently a parking lot - to examine the past, present and future of this place that is undergoing an important ecological transformation.
Tour Leaders Dan Coleman (English Professor and author of Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place)Randy Kay (Restore Cootes)Judy Major-Girardin (School of the Arts)