Western Pond Turtle Conservation

The time is NOW to gather important data on California’s only native turtle species, the Northwestern and Southwestern Pond Turtle (WPT)! Urban expansion and climate change-related stressors continue to reduce WPT populations across their entire range (California, Oregon, and Washington). In response to their declining population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed federal protections for both species of pond turtle under the Endangered Species Act.

In June of 2023, researchers at the Alameda County Resource Conservation District and collaborating institutions, with support from the USFWS, began investigating upland habitat use by WPT in Alameda County rangelands using state-the-art wildlife tracking GPS telemetry. Using these GPS units, researchers can get real-time updates on the location of the turtles throughout the year, allowing them to better understand their lifecycle and help inform conservation efforts.

To build on this study, the ACRCD and its collaborators expanded the scope of this project, in June 2024, to include another critical stronghold for WPT, urban waterways. Livermore, the largest city in Alameda County’s Tri-valley, is an ideal geographic region to conduct WPT research, as it is home to both species of WPT and its developed and rangeland landscapes allow researchers to study turtles at the intersection of urban and rural environments.

Thank you to the generous donors who supported this unique opportunity to help change the trajectory of these species here in Livermore/Tri-Valley at this critical juncture by donating to purchase 10 GPS units that help track the movements of these vulnerable species, allowing scientists to protect habitats critical for their survival. You have made a positive difference in your community.

Sediment Filled Pond
Photos by: Ed Culver, EBRPD & Dr. Farley Connelly, ACRCD