SOUTH GLENGARRY, Ontario – The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) is installing new turtle basket platforms at Cooper Marsh.
The 15 new floating platforms are being placed in the waters around the marsh which will give turtles more opportunities to sun bathe and visitors more opportunities to see the turtles.
The new platforms will also give the turtles some protection from predators.
“These 15 new platforms will help the RRCA to monitor the turtle populations at Cooper Marsh,” said Brendan Jacobs, the RRCA’s Stewardship Specialist. “Cooper Marsh provides excellent and diverse habitat to several turtle species such as painted turtles, snapping turtles, and Blanding’s turtles.”
The Blanding’s turtles were at the heart of a recent controversy surrounding a proposed development on land adjacent to the Marsh. Run Guo Investments Canada Ltd./Fotenn Planning + Design plans on building 25 campsites on land directly east of Cooper Marsh.
In July, members of the public protested this proposed development citing concerns that it could disrupt the habitat of the Blanding’s turtle and other creatures living in the Marsh.
Perceived political lobbying by the Cooper Marsh Conservators lead the RRCA to ending their relationship with the volunteer group.
“Basking is essential for turtles,” Jacobs added. “It increases their metabolism, allowing them to carry on basic life processes such as moving, eating, and mating. It also helps them produce necessary vitamins and maintain general immunity.”
The new platforms are a part of a larger initiative by the RRCA to add more improvements to the visitor’s experience at the Marsh, including upcoming improvements to the visitor’s centre.