Roads are dangerous for turtles! The density of roads and cars has increased to a point where this hazard can impact the long-term survival of some turtle populations. Fortunately, there are relatively simple improvements that can be made to reduce the number of turtles crossing roads. These range from things like dedicated wildlife underpasses, modified culverts, wildlife-friendly curbs, and fences to things like enhanced nesting habitat. These mitigation efforts can be expensive and are not always embraced by highway departments.
The best way to show highway departments the need for protection is tangible evidence showing which road stretches have a significant number of turtle crossings. State and county biologists cannot collect enough information across the state to identify all the important crossings, but public volunteers can help to provide that information. The use of online mapping and mobile phone apps allow volunteers to submit locations of turtle crossings.
The data collected will be used to generate maps of known turtle crossing areas that can be shared with and used by conservation agencies and highway departments to prioritize and develop safer crossing areas. In addition, data can be collected in areas after mitigation strategies are put into place to better determine their effectiveness.