|Western Pond Turtles enjoying their favorite log at Turtle Pond.|
The white stick to the left is used to measure depth.
|January: Note how close the water is to the two trees in the back left.|
That little white line on the right is the top of the depth gauge.
Every other week, our team of three (Pepperwood Stewards Carrie Mammoser, Lloyd Cook, and myself) hikes out to Turtle Pond, where we work to monitor the health of the pond and surrounding habitat, which has a direct impact on the turtles themselves. Since this species of turtle is on a decline, we decided to figure out what features constitute their ideal habitat. One of the key factors we’d like to determine is if human and non-native animal disturbances were negatively affecting the population at the pond.
|May: So much change in just four months! By the end of the|
summer, almost all of the water will probably be gone.
|Steward Lloyd Cook taking measurements in May 2012.|
Though we only have one year of data, it’s exciting to see the monitoring project come together. It’s too early to draw any conclusions, but we can provide a couple examples of our measurements. Nitrate levels, for example, have remained constant throughout the year. The pond’s pH has also held steady at 5.5 over the course of the year. Water levels vary seasonally and can change drastically depending on rainfall – see the graph to the lower right for an illustration.