Status Assessment AND Conservation Plan FOR the
Spotted Turtle in the Eastern United States
Photos (above, below): Jonathan Mays
Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) have declined across their range and are of conservation concern throughout the United States and Canada. They are identified as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in all 21 states in which they occur, considered Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and have been petitioned for federal listing under the Endangers Species Act. The goal of this project is to quantify the Spotted Turtle status and distribution from Maine to Florida (yellow region in figure)—as well as the effects of climate change and habitat fragmentation on the species—in order to prioritize both habitat conservation and management. As part of this project, we will conduct standardized population assessments at multiple spatial scales, with centralized data analysis, to (1) establish population baselines, (2) inform a comprehensive adaptive management strategy, and (3) identify priority habitat and population management actions at the regional, state, and local levels.
To maintain populations of Spotted Turtles at or above their current levels throughout the participating states, and to achieve zero net loss of suitable habitat at high priority sites by (1) identifying and enhancing priority seasonal wetland and terrestrial habitats in the eastern United States, and (2) applying conservation principles and practices to increase population size and support healthy metapopulations of Spotted Turtles and associated SGCN.
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