A Bog Turtle Season For The Books!

Landmark’s 2019 Bog Turtle Season was one for the books!

It was an especially busy season! April through June is typically a busy time for Environmental Scientists.  This period encompasses peak growing, planting, and wetland monitoring seasons.  But for Environmental Scientists that also work with the Bog Turtle, this time of year can get downright hectic!

What is a Phase II Bog Turtle Investigation?

Landmark Scientists refer to April 15th through June 15th as “Bog Turtle Season” because it is the only time when Phase II Bog Turtle Investigations can be conducted.  Phase II Investigations are surveys where Scientists search potential Bog Turtle habitat for the turtles.  (Potential habitat is typically mucky, wet meadows containing spring seeps and shallow rivulets).  Bog Turtles breed from mid-April through mid-June.  They mate on the surface and then gravid females need to bask in the sun during gestation.  So, Bog Turtles are hanging out on, or close to, the surface more during this time period, instead of down in tunnels or deeper in the muck.  Also, the vegetation is not yet tall and dense enough to impede searches.

Phase II Bog Turtle Investigations are comprised of four separate surveys.  Each survey must be separated by at least three full days and at least two of the four surveys must be conducted in May.  Also, certain weather criteria must be maintained for the entirety of each survey.  The acreage of habitat and team size affects the survey length with a requirement of 4-6 man hours of searching per acre.  Some states also require a 3:1 Assistants to Bog Turtle Surveyor ratio.  With the ratio requirement, larger sites will sometimes require more than one Bog Turtle Surveyor.

Logistical Nightmare Controlled!

With all of these requirements during a notoriously busy time for Environmental Scientists, managing Bog Turtle Season can be a Logistical Nightmare!

But our Bog Turtle Team is comprised of expert time managers that are no strangers to busy Bog Turtle Seasons.  However, “busy” is an understatement when describing 2019! Landmark’s 2019 Bog Turtle Season included seven Phase II Bog Turtle Investigations and two Phase III Investigations!

What is a Phase III Bog Turtle Investigation?

Phase III Bog Turtle Investigations are live trapping studies where 20 traps per acre of habitat are set and checked daily for 20 consecutive days.  One of our 2019 Phase III Investigations consisted of 140 traps!  And, of course, we still conducted normal job duties such as Wetland Delineations, Forest Stand Delineations, and Phase I Bog Turtle Investigations during this Season.

This Bog Turtle season was very busy, but also memorable.  This season gave our Bog Turtle team opportunities to work and collaborate with teams from other companies. It was a lot of work, but we love busy Bog Turtle Seasons! We can’t wait for next year!