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Bog Turtle Partner Website

The Bog Turtle Partner Website was funded for NRCS and its partners to collaborate in support of private landowners to implement Working Lands for Wildlife partnership.

Bog Turtle Map
WLFW Bog Turtle Focal Area

The tiny bog turtle measures only about four inches. The northern population of bog turtles ranges from New York and western Massachusetts and south to Maryland. The bog turtle prefers to live in open canopy, unpolluted, herbaceous sedge meadows and fens bordered by wooded areas. They depend upon a diverse habitat for foraging, nesting, basking and hibernating, and they can be a good indicator of water quality and wetland function.

The greatest threats to bog turtles include habitat degradation and fragmentation from land conversion, habitat succession because of invasive exotic and native plants, and illegal trade and collecting. Changes in land use or alterations in water flow reduce a wetland’s ability to function. Wetland habitats that have been drained and filled for development, agriculture and roads have severely fragmented the remaining habitat, isolating existing bog turtle populations. In the past 30 years, the turtle has disappeared from more than 50 percent of the wetlands it once inhabited. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the turtle as threatened in 1997.

Most of the remaining bog turtle habitat is privately owned. Many of the wetlands are located in agricultural areas where livestock are frequently grazed. NRCS works with landowners to use prescribed grazing, which enhances habitat by slowing natural plant succession and minimizing the encroachment of invasive native and exotic plant species. As part of prescribed grazing plans, NRCS works to ensure lands are not overgrazed, creating a win for both the ag producers and this rare turtle.

NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners in target areas of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts to voluntarily restore and protect bog turtle habitat on private lands. This assistance helps producers plan and implement a variety of conservation activities, or practices, that benefit the turtle and agricultural operations.

Technical assistance is free to producers. The agency’s staff of experts and conservation partners work side-by-side with producers to develop a conservation plan. Each plan focuses on the restoration of bog turtle habitat and is tailored to the landowner’s property. These plans provide a roadmap for how to use a system of conservation practices to meet natural resource and production goals.

Content Link: NRCS Bog Turtle Website