Western Pond Turtle Habitat Assessment

The western pond turtle is the only native freshwater turtle species in northern California. It has declined throughout 75% of its range and continues to be threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive predators, and a number of other human-induced mechanisms. Marin County Parks and Open Space District has multiple preserve locations where populations of this sensitive species occur. The management of pond turtles and their habitat is a priority for Marin County Parks. PCI was retained to complete a pond turtle habitat assessment of three focal areas and provide enhancement suggestions to guide efforts to preserve and improve habitat and conserve native turtle populations, while also improving park visitor experience. PCI used existing data, combined with botanical and wildlife surveys and water quality assessments, to provide a report with site-specific plans and best management practices considering population demographics, habitat conditions, connectivity, and threats. It also included recommendations for educating visitors, protective measures for construction, and suggestions for the continued monitoring of these populations into the future. The completed report was a culmination of PCI’s experience in projects focused on restoration and enhancement, history of work with the parks, and dedication to local wildlife conservation and visitor education.