ARC Lab members Ethan J. Kessler and Michael J. Dreslik received funding from The Nature Conservancy, Indiana to conduct surveying for the Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys teminckii). The surveys will be a combined effort of trapping and eDNA sampling in the Patoka and White River watersheds. The project also includes some proof-of-concept work for eDNA work at the southern Illinois release site. Survey work will commence this summer through fall.
Dreslik said the biggest challenge Blanding’s turtle conservation will have in the Chicago area is the landscape.
“It’s highly fragmented by roads, by industrial areas, by urbanization,” he said.
That’s one reason Chicago Wilderness is partnering with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to create a statewide Blanding’s turtle recovery plan, he said.
“We’ve done radio telemetry, tracking turtles at a very large site at Goose Lake Prairie (in Grundy County),” Dreslik said. “Those turtles were capable of moving many kilometers between wetlands. “