New Milford turtles surviving drought

New Milford turtles surviving drought

NEW MILFORD — The little turtles on Conn’s Pond used to have it all: Ample water, frogs, insects and little fish to eat, and often-generous human visitors.

And they still have much of it —all but the water, that is.

Plants sucking up water through the spring and summer, coupled with a two-year decline in rainfall, have caused the pond to dry up, said Douglas Glowacki, who watches water levels as an emergency management program specialist at the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The pond, next to Park Lane Road near the town’s police department, has struggled to maintain its vitality as groundwater levels plunged.

“You can think of a pond as being the visible part of your water table,” Glowacki said, adding that water levels normally drop through the summer as nearby plants grow. The pond, while mostly mud now, will likely rebound in coming months, with or without rainfall.

Theodora Pinou, a Western Connecticut State University professor of biological and environmental sciences, said small fish and frogs that live in the pond might be in some trouble, but the turtles, a visitor favorite, should be all right.

“They’re not married to any one pond,” Pinou said. “They’ll just go somewhere else if they can get there.”

But with the traffic along the road next door, a move may prove difficult for the turtles, she added.

“Turtles aren’t very selective,” Pinou said. “They’re pretty hardy.”

New Milford, along with much of Western Connecticut, is experiencing a moderate drought, Glowacki said.

“We’re lower than normal, but we’re not at record lows,” Glowacki said. “If we continue to be this dry, we could be.”; 203-731-3411; @bglytton