DNR Asks Public To Help Find Turtle Crossings

Agency Hopes To Reduce Turtle Deaths

turtle in the road
redjar (CC-BY-SA)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking the public for help determining where turtles are crossing roads, and often getting killed, doing so.

With the spring breeding season underway for turtles, many of them are making their way from wetlands along paths that come near to or even cross roads. According to DNR conservation biologist Andrew Badje, one busy highway near Horicon Marsh sees more than 100 turtles killed every year.

“What that is, is the turtles are coming up out of the wetlands and actually trying to nest on roads, or in some cases just trying to move between wetlands, as well,” he said.

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Badje said the highway near Horicon Marsh is one of the worst spots in the state for turtles.

“It’s high speed and at the same time, it’s a highly trafficked road and then on top of it, there’s a lot of turtles actually crossing or trying to nest on that road, too,” he said.

Badje said it may take a while for the DNR to coordinate with the state Department of Transportation and other agencies on what steps to take. But he said turtles being killed on roads is one of the reasons the population of the species appears to be going down.

The DNR wants people to report turtle carcasses and live turtles on roads. Badje said it may be possible to put up signs encouraging motorists to slow down, or eventually help several species and build a critter crossing underneath the roadway.

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