Another Great Year of Turtle Research for the NAFTRG

by Eric Munscher 

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The North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group (NAFTRG) sampled the Comal Springs in New Braunfels, Texas for the seventh time (fourth time in 2013) from November 8-10. We captured 442 turtles during this trip, bringing the yearly total for Comal Springs to 1,755 captured and processed turtles. The first sampling session for Comal Springs in 2014 will be February 28-March 2.

Kellie_Pit_taggingVolunteers from SWCA Environmental Consultants, Turtle Survival Alliance, Fort Worth Zoo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Sea World San Antonio, Houston Zoo, Peninsula College, Houston ISD, and other affiliates participated in this year’s sampling efforts.

This year marked 14 continuous years of NAFTRG work in Florida and Texas. A total of 2,721 turtles were captured and processed this year: Comal Springs 1,755, Wekiwa Springs 547, Manatee Springs 271, Blue Springs 108, and Fanning Springs 50.

Blue_Springs_dark_waterWhile these numbers are impressive this was a down year for our Florida parks. All three sampling sessions, March, July, and October in Florida were impacted by severe weather. Record cold temperatures and flooding in March prevented successful sampling of Blue, Manatee, Fanning, and Peacock Springs, excessive flooding in July prevented sampling Peacock and Fanning Springs altogether and severely impacted survey areas in Wekiwa, Blue, and Manatee Springs where water visibility was severely reduced. Flooding in October prevented sampling of Peacock Springs again.

Fanning_Springs_MacrochelysNext year (2014) will mark 15 years of continuous research by the NAFTRG in these seven springs. It is our hope that this will be the group’s best year yet! Dates for upcoming trips to all parks will be listed on the NAFTRG webpage soon.

Thanks for your continued support. We look forward to getting more volunteers involved in this fun and important research. Click here to learn how you can help!

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