-Continually working toward decreasing road mortality & increasing public awareness
The Margate Terrapin Project has been moving forward through the years to increase public awareness and decrease fatalities of terrapins along the Margate Causeway. Various types of fencing/barriers have been installed and tested for effectiveness. Starting with plastic Tenax fencing to now split HDPE stormwater tubing that is dug into the ground, the ultimate goal has been to protect the Diamondback Terrapins by limiting their ability to cross the causeway. Volunteers and donations have helped keep the project running and moving in a positive direction.
The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor along with Stockton University's Coastal Research Center have been leading the way in the conservation of South Jersey's Diamondback Terrapin population. The Margate Terrapin Rescue Project has worked very closely with the Wetlands Institute to install fencing and has been guided by their vast knowledge of Diamondback Terrapins.
Research has been performed in past years on the effectiveness of the newer halved, 10 inch, corrugated tubing. This type of tubing was first used by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey in 2012 who had great success. They have been researching barriers to effectively prevent terrapin road mortality since 2010. They consulted with the Margate Terrapin Rescue Project on the use of the new barriers and advised us of its success along Great Bay Boulevard in Little Egg Harbor.
Like previous years, the causeway is patrolled daily to check for fatalities and assist terrapins across the road. For the past few seasons, the patrols included marking each fatality, rescue/save, and injured terrapin using the iNaturalist app to gather data relevant to the types of barriers, hot spots along the causeway and possible population data. This type of data collection can help to strengthen the need to continue to use halved corrugated tubing as well as help assess the overall terrapin population's status.
How does the older 6 inch whole corrugated tubing work? It is generally high enough so that the terrapins can't climb over. It is staked to the ground so it won't move or budge as easily. However, sometimes the tubing loosens from the stakes and gaps underneath the tubing are exposed. The terrapins can then wiggle their way underneath and have access to the roadways. This type of barrier only still exists in the section closest to the maintenance yard and toll.
So how does the newer halved tubing work? It's high enough that the terrapins can't climb over. The inside of the halved tubing is smooth which does not allow the terrapins to grip on and climb over. Additionally, the halved tubing is dug into the ground via trenches created by a Ditch Witch. The newer type of halved tubing has proven effective but does require yearly maintenance to maintain its integrity. The halved sections can fall over and create easy access for terrapins to the roadways if the barriers are not set upright and deep enough. In addition, winter storms, high winds, high tides and other issues can lead to failures of the barriers in preventing terrapin crossings.
Regular maintenance of all of the barriers is required. You will see our volunteers out there with bright colored shirts and shovels fixing the barriers to make sure it is as effective as possible.
6" Whole Corrugated Tubing
10" Halved Corrugated Tubing
References Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. 2015. "Great Bay Terrapin Project." http://www.conservewildlifenj.org/protecting/projects/terrapin/ Southern New Jersey, USA." Proceedings: Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles- An International Conference. New York Turtle and Tortoise Society, 1997. 46-53. The Wetlands Institute. Terrapin Conservation. 2014. http://wetlandsinstitute.org/conservation/terrapin-conservation/. Wood, Roger Conant, and Rosalind Herlands. "Turtles and Tires: The Impact of Roadkills on Northern Diamondback Terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin terrapin, Populations on the Cape May Peninsula,