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SaveOurGreenspace Coalition fight to protect Species At Risk Turtles
The EA has stated that this hibernating creek will be redirected and filled.

Cahill crossing # 7 and # 8 is due to be diverted in order to put down the second track. Re-alignment of approximately 230m of the existing channel that flows down the east side of the tracks between Crossing #7 and Crossing #8) is proposed to accommodate the LRT widening. The channel will be realigned to the west side of the ROW so that the existing culvert crossing can be removed. Also, the storm sewer presently located north of crossing on east side will be replaced.

This urban turtle habitat makes Ottawa unique among the cities of the world. As far as I am aware, no other city in a temperate climate has such a rich and unique turtle population. I think I mentioned that I have seen Painted, Map, Snapping and Emys Blandingii.

The success of such a diverse population is due to the intertwined combination of suitable nesting areas and wetlands. The wetlands are especially unique in this regard for, contrary to what one might think, they are essential for the winter survival of the turtles as they contain a pond and streams that do not freeze solid. Any change to this winter habitat would cause the turtles to have anoxia; the result being the turtle population will be drastically reduced, perhaps eliminated.

The other interesting thing about turtles is that they always travel to their earlier nesting area and return to their hibernating area using exactly the same footsteps. This fact is not commonly known among the general population. For this reason alone, relocating the creek and moving the pond would also prove fatal to these turtles. Introducing a fence along the new corridor will also have a similar effect, as the turtles will be cut off from their habitual nesting areas.

You had asked the other night about why turtles pick such strange places to lay their eggs (side of the road, horse barns, etc). As I didn't know, I followed up on this with Mr. Fred Schueler, he advises that different species of turtles will each search out soil temperatures and textures particular to their species to nest. The variety of soil conditions found in the area in question contribute to the rich ecosystem that has forever supported the turtles.

As we discussed, the re-alignment of the tracks will help to preserve these reptiles into the future. The City of Ottawa has a tremendous opportunity in this regard, albeit still unrecognized. By realigning the tracks, the City would effectively be creating an urban turtle sanctuary. A sanctuary that protects vibrant populations of species at risk, and one that if marketed correctly would bring allocades to the City from sources as diverse as tourism promoters to researchers to other levels of government.

I believe the realignment would be a great opportunity for Ottawa.

There is a better solution:

Aligning the LRT tracks along the Airport Parkway will

  1. Preserve the Turtle Habitat where Species At Risk Turtles have been found,
  2. Preserve the Turtle nesting grounds,
  3. Preserve the winter Habitat for all reptiles and amphibians (Tributary #7),
  4. Preserve the CPR ROW for the NRC CSTT facility,
  5. Align the LRT closer to the new hotel, and the airport terminal.
  6. Eliminate the need to relocate the Embridge Gas main.
  7. Preserve the summer Habitat (Tributary #8) where SAR were found.
  8. A much quicker way to arrive at the Airport Terminal from Greenboro station (16min is the current estimate when travelling through the greenbelt instead of the Transportation Corridor, Airport Parkway).

In late spring 2006, Dr. Schueler and associates researched the area south of Hunt Club to Lester Road, west of the CPR ROW and east of the Airport Parkway. Please see attached snippet from Dr. Schueler's e-mail.

Dr. Schueler and associates have concluded the following:

  1. No Turtles were found along the road,
  2. No Turtle road kill along the east or the west side of the Airport Parkway, between Lester and Hunt Club Roads,
  3. hey have found 5 turtle road kill along Lester Road (GPS readings are available)

Their research was able to tell us exactly where the turtles live - on Lester in the North and South wetlands. The Blanding's Turtle was found in the wetlands abut the tracks, north of Lester. The Map Turtle was found north of Lester, in the stream closest to the Airport Parkway.

It is our responsibility to ensure we preserve and protect Species At Risk and their habitat. Construction of a new rail line 3 metres from the wetlands where Blanding's Turtle was found does not support SARA.

See David Jeanes' further information concerning track alignment.