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Old 08-01-2009, 06:52 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Massachusetts studying roads, highways to reduce turtle mortality

Massachusetts studying roads, highways to reduce turtle mortality
By Rob Haneisen
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jul 27, 2009 @ 01:06 PM

Massachusetts studying roads, highways to reduce turtle mortality - Taunton, MA - The Taunton Gazette
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Untold numbers of turtles - some on protected species lists - are killed on Massachusetts roadways each year while looking for a place to lay their eggs, searching for food or simply getting from one place to another.
A collaborative project between the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and MassHighway might put an end to some of the road kill.

This spring, the state began collecting information from area wildlife scientists, advocates and motorists about areas where they see high rates of turtles killed by vehicles. When possible, the species of turtle killed is logged to see if it is endangered or protected.

When the study is complete, MassHighway and the NHESP hope to have a statewide priority list of turtle road-kill hot spots. Some of those locations could see immediate improvements, including fencing or other barriers to protect the turtles, and others would be flagged for the future when construction projects in the area might allow for more expansive measures, including wildlife tunnels.

"We know already that there are a number of very low cost design implementations that make roads safer for wildlife," said Mike Jones, endangered species review biologist at the NHESP. "We are interested in having available as a resource where these problem crossing sites occur."
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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I wonder what some of the "low cost" design options are for roads.
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Old 08-02-2009, 05:02 AM   #3
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I would like to know this too. I have seen road signs suggesting motorists slow down for turtles ("Give 'Em a Brake") but I have no idea how effective they are. And I have read about tunnel projects and the like, but I recall that they are expensive. It is hard to imagine that projects such as these would be regarded as budget priorities these days. I actually think that it would be possible to generate enough public interest to have the occasional project privately funded. But I cannot see many state highway administrations allowing such projects to be done.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:00 PM   #4
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The day may be coming when they have to consider doing something if any of the species are threatened or endangered.
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:04 PM   #5
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Very good point. The endangered species act was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation."
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