Overview

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Linck, M.H. 1988. Emydoidea blandingii survey within Ramsey Co., MN. Draft final report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 6 pp.

Overview:

The objective of this study was to determine the distribution of Blandings turtle in Ramsey County. Records from the MN DNR, Natural Heritage and Nongame Program Database were checked, DNR personnel were consulted, and topography maps were referred to for the most suitable wetland areas to be surveyed on foot. A total of 14 field trips within Ramsey County were made between 29 April 1988 and 25 June 1988. All wetland sites were rechecked on 2 separate field trips. In each setting, areas most likely to be used for nesting were evaluated, with more emphasis placed on the US Arsenal site.

At the US Army Arsenal, Arden Hills, painted turtles of all age classes were observed basking in great numbers throughout Marsden Lake and within 3 small ponds close to the northern border of the arsenal. An adult Emydoidea was sighted basking on a clump of vegetation apprx. 7 meters from shore on the west side of the marsh along Hamline Avenue. An attempt to capture the turtle failed. Two subsequent visits in May revealed other basking Emydoidea within the cattail mats and on a log. One adult male was captured in a smaller pond along the northern border and west of Hamline Avenue. A freshly hit Emydoidea female was located on a road check of Lexington Avenue. No nesting sites were located. Some Blanding's are heading out of the Arsenal in search of nest sites. Ideally, it would be a good idea for the US Army to fix gaps in the fence surrounding the arsenal. It seems this particular nesting season was especially quiet; Minnesota's severe drought conditions most likely impacted several species of freshwater turtles which travel a distance from their home wetland to a nest.

In Shoreview, an immature Blandings was observed basking close to shore on a sedge and was hand captured. No nesting sites were located although a reliable report was made to MN DNR staff of a Blanding's sitting on a sandy path. Another Blanding's turtle was sighted but not captured. Reports of sightings were made by the residents in the area. No nests were located.

In the wetlands in North Oaks area, numerous painted turtles were sighted. Blanding's turtles were not sighted. A June 1988 sighting was reported to the DNR. The sighting was just north of Pleasant Lake, but on the Anoka County line.

In the Birch Lake area, White Bear Lake, a reliable report was received by DNR staff so this area was checked. Blanding's turtles were not seen, but the marsh had considerable amounts of sandy upland soil. This would be an accessible area to check during nesting season.

The obvious problem in the metro area is the development of upland areas bordering marshes, home to Blanding's turtles. Judging from response to the DNR's call for Blanding's sightings, many homeowners are interested in the turtle's welfare and enjoy having this uncommon turtle in their neighborhood. Several residents were excited about the possibility of a Blanding's nesting in their yard. It might be possible to promote planting one's backyard for wildlife or convincing residents in newly developed areas to leave "wild areas." Traffic poses a problem to Blanding's turtles. Northern Ramsey County has undeveloped areas and the county open space program can be a crucial part of protecting Blanding's nesting habitat.