Diamondback Terrapin Update
Terrapin Habitat Improvement Program (HIP)
Having now completed three nesting seasons from 2019 to 2021, the program continues to be a great success. The combination of fencing to keep the terrapins off the roads and new nesting habitat that has provided safe places to nest have resulted in no road kills for the whole period at the two locations, the main objective of the program. Over the 3 year period at the Bridge Road sites (near the bridge) there were 31 nests yielding 228 hatchlings while at the Herring Brook Rd. sites there were 34 nests yielding 236 hatchlings. In summary, the fencing and associated turtle gardens functioned as planned, keeping terrapins off the road while providing suitable nesting habitat. It is estimated that a total roadkill of 18 terrapins and loss of 40 years of their future productivity were prevented over the past 3 years by this program.
Over the past 20 years the Eastham diamondback terrapin conservation program’s main objective has been to restore the population from near extirpation by increasing hatchling recruitment from protected nests. With the recovery of the population in the Boat Meadow and Great Marshes, the focus has changed somewhat to protecting the existing population of mature females and the expected continued population growth.
For a complete overview of the 2021 nesting season read Bill Allan’s terrapin 2021 report.