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.

Do not put yourself in harm’s way to protect or document turtles or other wildlife observed on a roadway. Wear a bright, reflective safety vest; always walk facing traffic; and work with a partner where one person can always keep an eye on incoming traffic.

Together, let’s SAVE THE Minnesota TURTLES!
If you are a child, please ask an adult to help you.

Data Collection

  • Individuals are encouraged to submit records of both live and dead turtles at crossings. Report even small parts of road-killed turtles
  • The focus is on the seven-county Twin Cities area — Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington
  • The best time to collect data is June-September
  • (Other amphibian and reptile data are welcome as well as observations from other parts of the state)
  • Submit through HerpMapper.org or on the HerpMapper app. Here’s how…

HerpMapper.org

  1. Create an account (or log in with the same account you set up on the HerpMapper app)
  2. Submit observation
    • Upload a voucher – image or audio file of the actual animal observed
    • List the species name – either common name or scientific name
    • Enter the date and time observed
    • Determine the exact location
      • Enter latitude and longitude. Some cameras and smartphones include metadata on the image file so the info will automatically fill.  If not, you can find by zooming in on the Google map.  It is very important to be accurate with the location!  Once latitude and longitude are filled, altitude, datum, and coordination source fields will automatically fill in.
    • Under Age, select the turtle’s life stage
    • Additional notes and private notes may be used to provide more details if desired.
    • Submit observation

HerpMapper App

  1. Download the app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store
  2. Create an account (or log in with the same account you set up on HerpMapper.org)
  3. Go under settings, add new project, select Amphibian and Reptile Survey of Minnesota
  4. Back on the home screen,
    1. New record
    2. Enter latitude and longitude – it will automatically fill your current location. Be sure to wait until your location accuracy is 50m or less.
    3. List type of species – either common name or scientific name. You may also list Unknown ID if you do not know the species
    4. Upload a voucher – image or audio file of the actual animal observed
    5. Under age, select the turtle’s life stage. Additional notes and private notes may be used to provide more details if desired.
    6. Review and save record

If you have questions or concerns, contact info@herpmapper.org

For more information visit herpmapper.org/help or herpmapper.org/FAQ

Minnesota Turtle Crossing Tally and Count project partners:

  • HerpMapper
  • Minnesota Herpetological Society
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program
  • Three Rivers Park District

Project help also provided by St. John’s Lutheran Eagle Tech Team www.stjlutheranschool.org

All this information found on www.tinyurl.com/SaveTheMNTurtles.com