a survey of diamondback terrapin nesting and foraging habitat in the herring river estuary n.
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A Survey of Diamondback Terrapin Nesting and Foraging Habitat in the Herring River Estuary. A Study by: Barbara Brennessel, Emily Conklin and Alison Enchelmaier.

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a survey of diamondback terrapin nesting and foraging habitat in the herring river estuary
A Survey of Diamondback Terrapin Nesting and Foraging Habitat in the Herring River Estuary

A Study by: Barbara Brennessel, Emily Conklin and Alison Enchelmaier

Diamondback Terrapins, a threatened turtle species in Massachusetts, are present in the Herring River Estuary for at least part of the year. Most likely, they use this area for mating and foraging. Upland areas around the estuary are also used by the females for nesting and as nursery habitat for the hatchlings. The goal of this project is to assess long term use of these habitats by the Terrapins in order to establish a baseline for comparison as the estuary is restored.

We hypothesize that increased tidal flow through the dike on the estuary and the restoration of salt marsh above the dike will increase habitat for foraging, mating, nesting and nursery use by the Diamondback Terrapin population.

Adult terrapin tracks were also located in Middle Meadow, indicating potential nesting activity in that area.

Map Two: Great Island Terrapins. Each blue marker represents the location where a female terrapin was found.

Map One: Great Island nests. Viable nests are in green, depredated nests are in red. Hatchling tracks were considered viable nests. The blue circle represents favored foraging territory within the estuary and bordering habitat.

Acknowledgments: We would like to thank Wheaton College for the generous stipends provided to Emily and Alison through the Balfour scholarship program. We would also like to thank the Wellfleet Bay Audubon Sanctuary, and the National Park Service for their help and support in this project.