Western Pond Turtle

"From the Ponds"

Vol. 1 No. 2, March 5, 1999.

Western Pond Turtle- Main Page

From the Ponds Main Page.


The Bimonthly Electronic Newsletter of the Western Pond Turtle Project in Washington State

By Kate Slavens

Vol. 1 No. 2

5 March 1999

YES, IT'S TIME FOR AN UPDATE. I hope you all enjoyed the first issue and I thank all who responded with such enthusiasm. As you may have noticed, the list of recipients has grown considerably. Although this is not a busy season for fieldwork, there is always planning for the fieldwork, which keeps me busy. As the project expands into new areas, there's plenty to do on rainy days.

OUR BUDGET continues to be a headache, but there are aspirins appearing at just the right times. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife found an extra $5000.00 for the ALEA Fund which covers all the volunteer expenses and some of the transmitters. The Woodland Park Zoological Society has taken on the role of Guardian Angel and continues to find extra funding for all necessary equipment and expenses. We will have a project in 1999 and it will be a good one. We are still waiting for word from U.S. Fish & Wildlife, which will help cover the paid personnel needed to do the telemetry aspect in both Klickitat and Skamania Counties. I'm still optomistic but, a decision will be made on March 15 whether or not to go ahead because more transmitters will need to be ordered to arrive in time.

IT'S ALMOST FIELDWORK TIME. Our fieldwork in Klickitat County is about to begin. Trapping will start on April 1 and continue until May 11. In February, Frank & I were able to replace transmitters on three females that were hibernating on land, or a reasonably facsimile to land. One was on the edge of a small stream, in mud and surrounded by blackberries. She owes me. We still have 13 transmitters for the females we will have to capture by trapping. Some of those will be available for Skamania County if we go ahead with that. Twenty new traps were just received which will allow us to trap extensively at both sites concurrently without the possibility of cross-contamination between the two sites. New waders are on the horizon. The trapping at the Skamania site will begin April 4 and continue until May 15. Of course, telemetry begins May 15 and will continue until July 15. Our schedule is just about covered, at least for telemetry at the Klickitat site. A few gaps remain, which should be covered by the few last volunteers who have not yet gotten back to me. You know who you are.

SOUTHWEST HOLDING: Wally reports that the head-starting turtles are doing great. In fact, about half of them are ready to be released already. This means a possible release in late May for those and a second release for the others after July 15.

THE PUGET SOUND SURVEY is just about on its way. Fifteen volunteers attended the first training session on February 27 and at least that many more will be at the March 14 session. Our thanks to the Nature Conservancy for adding our request for volunteers to their newsletter, because the response was terrific. We will be able to survey all the most likely sites for surviving western pond turtles very well. We also extend our thanks to Woodland Park Zoo for providing a room for the training. A new four page guide to the most common non-native species was part of the packet.

SPEAKING OF THE PUGET SOUND AREA, the storms of the winter of 1998-1999 have not been kind to many of the non-native turtles in Lake Washington. They have been washing up on shore quite dead. We have identified red-eared sliders, spiny softshells and Florida softshells from one beach. If anyone comes across other dead turtles and can identify the species, please let me know. We are also concerned with the species and the numbers of released "pet" turtles in our waters. Then there's the anecdote about the woman who rescued turtles from an Asian deli and released them all into Elliot Bay (oops, cold salt water). Nice try.

THE WATER RESOURCES EDUCATION CENTER in Vancouver, Washington is organizing a turtle survey in their area of Clark County. Hopefully, there will be some western pond turtles among the painteds.

THE EDUCATION Department at Woodland Park Zoo would like to apologize to anyone who was fooled by the "article" from the San Francisco Chronicle. They made it up to make a point in one of the programs about western pond turtles. They will change the name of the newspaper or do something else to it to keep us gullible adults from believing everything we read, although the part about "tasting like chicken" might be true.

THE "WANTED POSTER" and brochure are still in progress. I thought I would have them about printed by now, but other aspects of the project kept taking up my time. We are getting closer, however, and I hope to have most of that done before the field season begins.

THE WEB PAGE and the Bibliography are in the same slow boat.

THE NEXT NEWSLETTER will come out in early May and really will come "From the Ponds".

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Frank & Kate Slavens
P.O. Box 645
Lyle, WA 98635

To send Frank or Kate an e-mail, our addresses are: frank@pondturtle.com or kate@pondturtle.com

Pages first went up in October 1995.

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998,1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Frank Slavens

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