Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Effectiveness of road passage structures for freshwater turtles

October 2008 - December 2012


Participating Agencies

  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation

There is strong scientific agreement that the main threat to populations of freshwater turtles is the high rate of road mortality suffered by adults while moving between habitat patches. We have initiated a 4-year study, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, to experimentally test the effectiveness of various culvert and fencing options to help turtles safely cross roadways. Our results will be used by Mass DOT to decide on the type and number of road passage structures to place along new highways, and how to retro-fit existing roadways in order to reduce turtle road kills. This research is the first of its kind.