The City of Quincy’s Department of Natural Resources (QDNR) is teaming up with the New England Herpetological Society (NEHS), the New England Wildlife Center (NEWC), and the Friends of Butler’s Pond (FOBP) to protect the turtles of Butler’s Pond prior to the start of a large-scale ecological restoration project there.
In April, Quincy City Council unanimously approved $1.4M in funding for the dredging of 3,900 cubic yards of sediment from Butler’s Pond and the construction of a gravel stormwater treatment wetland at the north end of the pond following completion of the dredging. This work will restore the pond’s natural depth, which will strengthen its function as a stormwater retention basin, as well as improve water and habitat quality via the removal of decades worth of accumulated sediment. The hydraulic dredging method to be used will pose minimal risk to the pond's wildlife. However, as news of the planned restoration work spread, many folks from Quincy and beyond began expressing concern for some of the pond’s most beloved inhabitants – the turtles.
Volunteers from the NEHS stepped forward and obtained a permit from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) to trap and relocate the pond’s turtles to NEWC, where they will be cared for and monitored until their release back into Butler’s Pond. The turtles will be trapped using “hoop traps,” which are basically large circular lobster traps. Each trap will be baited with a can of sardines to entice the turtles to enter. Trapped turtles will be identified to species, secured, and then transported by car to the New England Wildlife Center.
Trapping will begin on Thursday, August 19th and traps will be removed on Monday, August 23rd. Traps will be emptied each day and the turtles will be transported to NEWC. Following the trapping process, the contractors performing the restoration work will mobilize on-site beginning August 27th.
All community members who are interested in learning more about the turtles and the plans for their safekeeping are welcomed to join the NEHS volunteers, members of the Friends of Butler’s Pond, and staff from the Quincy Department of Natural Resources on Saturday, August 21st at 10:30 am for an educational event at Butler’s Pond. Please contact Julie Sullivan at (617) 376-1287 for more information.