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

Urquhart Butterfly Garden speaker series

A lovely butterfly garden is the perfect setting for this annual speaker series.
August 4, 2018, Guest speaker: Doreen Nicoll You cannot have Monarch Butterflies without milkweed.  Doreen Nicoll has recently become a heroine for monarch butterflies, by insisting on her rights to grow milkweed in her naturalized garden in Burlington.

Doreen  Nicoll has long understood that garden with nature and not against her is the best thing for our planet. She also knows that native plants are great at attracting butterflies and bees of all species.

Doreen will be the first presenter in the Summer Series at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden and her topic will be Monarchs and Their Milkweed and naturalized gardening. She has wealth of information and is fun as well!

The session will begin at 11 am Saturday on August 4 and last approximately one hour.  Please bring a chair.

If it rains the session will be cancelled.


For more information about the Urquhart Butterfly Garden please visit urquhartbutterfly.c…

Turtle Watching: Volunteers Needed

By fragmenting the western end of Cootes Paradise with a four lane highway (Cootes Drive 1936) and McMaster parking (1969), car drivers gain at the expense of intact habitat for a multitude of species. Road kill on Cootes accounts for a severe threat to the survival of at risk species, and perhaps none so glaringly as the slow moving turtles who inhabit the remnant marsh.
A local volunteer group has, for the last few years, formed to assist the turtles and increase awareness, and (hopefully) survival rates. 
Please consider giving some of your time to the turtles of Cootes Paradise.
April 2012

Turtles will begin to move from their wintering sites in late May and their peak nesting period is mid-June. Dundas Turtle Watch identifies, monitors and rescues turtles at risk from traffic, and protects nests from predation wherever possible.
 The group  is  looking for people with a digital camera  who are  prepared to volunteer regularly, for approximately 2 hours week, plus some record keepin…

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)