Turtle Day will return to Elizabeth Lake in Cranbrook on April 26.
This year, western painted turtles have laid 76 nests in the wetland, and at the end of April hatchlings will begin to emerge from their nests and make their way to the lake.
Turtle Day, hosted by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) together with the Rocky Mountain Naturalists, is a chance to see the newly emerged hatchlings and learn about their journey, as well as the efforts of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists to protect this Blue-listed, vulnerable species at Turtle Day.
The free, family event runs from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 26 beside the Elizabeth Lake Visitors Centre. Parking is provided behind Elizabeth Lake Lodge.
The nesting area at Elizabeth Lake is maintained and monitored by the Rocky Mountain Naturalists working with biologists for the Province of B.C., with funding from the FWCP. Efforts to maintain fencing around the nesting area were successful last year, with only six nests lost to predation. Without intervention, western painted turtles would lose 90% of their nests to predators—primarily skunks.
“Habitat loss due to human activities has impacted the Southern Interior population of the western painted turtle, along with road mortality and introduced species,” says Jen Walker-Larsen, the FWCP’s Columbia Region manager. “The work of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists to provide safe nesting habitat and intervention for hatchlings is helping the FWCP conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams.”
The Rocky Mountain Naturalists have a long history of fostering awareness and understanding of our natural environment. They are committed to sharing the message of the western painted turtle’s life cycle—from the egg, to hatching, growing, maturing, and reproducing.
The FWCP is a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., Fisheries & Oceans Canada, First Nations, and public stakeholders to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams. Turtle Day is also made possible with the support of the Ministry of Forests.
For more information about Turtle Day and other projects funded by the FWCP, visit fwcp.ca/events.