BERLIN – The public is invited to join the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) for the annual community science Terrapin Survey beginning May 30 and continuing through June 10. Surveys take place both on water and on land. From motorboats to kayaks and SUPs, all are encouraged to participate.
Terrapins are the only turtle occupying brackish water, but other turtles, such as snapping turtles, may venture into more brackish water, so it is important that you can identify the correct species.
There is a training guide on the MCBP website that provides details on how to tell the difference, as well as the tools you will need including land and sea protocol, survey data sheets, and instructions on filling out the data sheets.
The website also includes a registration form that indicates specific areas where surveys need to be conducted. You can find all this information and more under Events at mdcoastalbays.org.
MCBP has been collecting a variety of data relating to diamondback terrapin populations in the Coastal Bays. Organized terrapin headcount surveys began in 2012 in collaboration with Maryland DNR and other members of the diamondback terrapin work group.
These surveys are important to help understand the terrapin populations in the Coastal Bays. For more information contact Sandi Smith at [email protected] or by calling 410-213-2297 ext. 106.
The Terrapin Survey occurs over the 12-day period after Memorial Day. This time period is when terrapins are highly active and are aggregating in clusters after emerging from hibernation.
One survey only takes a total of 15 minutes, and it’s fun, according to Sandi Smith of MCBP’s Outreach and Development. The process is available on MCBP’s website.
“Thank you for considering assisting in this important community science tool to document the status of our state reptile in the coastal bays,” said Smith.