With the loss, fragmentation, and degradation of natural wetlands, habitat restoration and management are becoming increasingly important tools in the conservation of many turtle species. The rare Blanding's turtle lives primarily in wetlands but requires well-drained and sparsely vegetated soil for nesting. If traditionally used nesting habitat becomes unsuitable due to vegetation overgrowth, females may travel farther with an increased risk of collection, predation, and mortality from cars. At a habitat creation site in Dutchess County, New York, we examined the success and cost-effectiveness of three methods of nesting habitat management—tilling, mowing, and weeding—on replicated 5 m × 7 m plots. Using radiotelemetry, we followed female turtles throughout the 2006 and 2008 nesting seasons. Nesting turtles preferred tilled plots to weeded or mowed plots. Our work suggests that tilling plots can be a successful and cost-effective means of managing nesting habitat.


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pp. 154-159
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