New Approaches for the Conservation of
Bog Turtles, Clemmys muhlenbergii, in Virginia


1 Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia,
Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA / e-mail:
2 Department of Biology, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA 23173, USA
3 Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage,
1500 E. Main Street, Suite 312, Richmond, VA 23219, USA

        ABSTRACT:  The majority of research conducted on bog turtles, Clemmys muhlenbergii, over the past 20 years in Virginia has focused on distribution and identification of wetland habitats.  Most populations inhabit small wetlands (1–2 ha) and consist of fewer than 20 adults.  Many bog turtle habitats are not isolated wetlands but are distributed along low areas bordering stream drainages.  Preservation of individual wetlands is unlikely to provide long-term protection due to small effective population sizes, lack of dispersal corridors to other wetlands, and the processes of natural succession.  Inventory efforts have located 58 sites containing bog turtles in Virginia.  We assigned each site to a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic unit (drainage) and found that bog turtles occur within 13 of these drainages in Virginia.  Five of the drainages contain 72% (42 of 58) of the known bog turtle sites.  Long-term protection and viability of bog turtle populations in Virginia will require a bioreserve approach in which landowners, developers, county planners, conservation biologists, and state agency personnel are included in the formulation of management plans for each drainage.  Computerized databases and mapping capabilities are available to assist in this planning process.

  Reserves and Programs

  Contents Summary
  Author Index and Citations

  Home Page