Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Turtle Relocation - Status Update Week 1 (Sept. 17 - 21)

Week 1 - Day 1: The relocation of turtles at Leslie Park Golf Course has been filled with it's share of challenges and as with most projects managing expectations can be one of the hardest parts. Here is a before and after shot of the first days field crew.  Not knowing what to expect in terms of numbers of turtles, the success rate of our trapping technique,  or the depth of the muck; some of us lost hope pretty early in the process.  However, we have been patient and have been able to relocate a total of nine turtles to date and will continue our effort into October. At the end of day one we had trapped one painted turtle. Little did we know what was in store     for us on day two. 

Week 1 - Day 2 : By the end of the day we had relocated 2 massive snapping turtles and one painted turtle.  Big thanks go to 'Turtle Dave' Mifsud, NAP Herpetologist,  and seasoned herp volunteer Sean Zera for their bravery and valor.  Wrestling 30 plus pound snapping turtles is no small feat. It was very exciting for our volunteers and staff.  Many had never seen or smelled (snapping turtle have musk glands on the underside of their shells) such impressive animals that close. 

Week 1 - Day 3 : Another productive relocation day totaling 2 more snapping turtles and 2 painted turtles.

Week 1 - Day 4 : Can't expect every day to be great.  No turtles...

Week 1 - Day 5 : One last painted turtle to finish the week

And one final pic of the biggin' from day two!

Week two started with moving the majority of our traps to the southern retention pond.  As of this afternoon (Week 2 - Day 3) we haven't relocated any additional turtles. We'll continue trapping efforts on both ponds into next week. For more information about Natural Area Preservation and the work that we do in the City of Ann Arbor Parks and Natural Areas you can go to our website ( or you can friend us on Facebook (  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Turtle relocation

As part of the Traver Creek Restoration Project through the City of Ann Arbor owned Leslie Park Golf Course, a permit was submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ.) To satisfy the MDEQ permit of the project, turtles and other herptofauna will be relocated from the two inline detention basins (AKA ponds on holes #12 and #17) on Traver Creek in the Golf Course.  This week, barrier fencing was installed around the pond on hole number 8 at the LPGC to receive and retain relocated animals before the construction starts.

The City of Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation's (NAP) staff Herpetologist, David Mifsud, will coordinate the relocation efforts with assistance from NAP staff and volunteers. The hope is that we will be able to relocate the majority of the animals from the ponds well within the time needed for them to successfully overwinter in the relocated area.  NAP will document all collected animals and monitor the receiver area(s) in subsequent years to qualitatively assess the results of the relocation.

The turtles will be live trapped with hoop traps baited with sardines. There will be six of each of three different size traps for a total of 18 traps. Here are some pictures of the traps.

The smallest trap. Notice the yellow, foam swim toy (noodle) which will help keep the trap afloat.

Here is the largest size trap.

Putting the traps out.

The traps need to be staked out so they don't float away.

These nets will help direct turtles into the traps. They hit the net and follow it until they get to the trap.

Here is the set up with one of the large nets.

Another perspective of the traps in the water.

This is the pond on #8 where the turtles and other animals will be relocated.

The silt fence will keep the animals from trying to move back to the pond where we are trapping them.

If you have interest in helping with this project please contact Tina Roselle, the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation at or call NAP at (734) 794-6627.