Installation of turtle fencing begins
With the temperature dropping and the turtles heading into hibernation, the City of Kingston is hoping to have the new protective road fencing in place with a minimal impact to the wetlands.
Starting this week, workers will begin to install the new fencing to help keep turtles safe, with the work continuing until early December.
The fencing will run along the west side of Princess Street, between John Counter Boulevard and Parkway, funnelling the turtles beneath the railway overpass.
The city expects the work to have a minimal impact on traffic.
Susan Irving, spokesperson for Turtles Kingston, said the most common breeds of turtles in Kingston are painted, snapping, map and musk turtles.
« The turtle nesting season is between May and September, » Irving said. « We hope that drivers take extra care this year between May and July when female turtles are making their way across roads to find a place to lay their eggs. »
Irving added that if turtles become extinct, we would lose waterway cleaners.
« We’re losing a species that has survived since the age of the dinosaurs, successfully up to this point, » Irving said. « I wouldn’t want to have that on my list of things to be proud of, to be the people who extinguished turtles. »
The fencing is now part of a wider project to keep Kingston turtles safe in their own habitats.
In 2014, Turtles Kingston rallied the community to help raise half the cost, more than $30,600, toward the cost for the fencing. The city contributed $85,600.
The fencing will help prevent turtles from attempting to cross the busy roadway when female turtles try to make their way across roads to find a place to lay their eggs.
There are a number of locations within the city that have turtle crossing signs, notifying drivers to keep an eye out for the slow-moving reptiles.
In June, the city received a $59,066 grant from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources’ Species at Risk Stewardship Fund. The provincial grant will be used to build turtle-nesting platforms and additional fencing along this corridor.
For more information about Turtles Kingston, go to its Facebook page at facebook.com/turtles.kingston.