Coldstream looks at ways to protect western painted turtle habitat

Protect painted turtles

How to best help the western painted turtle habitat at Kalavista Lagoon in Coldstream will be before council on Monday.

Western painted turtles are considered at risk due to a loss of its habitat. The reptiles favour wetlands or pond and a Ministry of Environment report says “the habitats occupied by this turtle are the same locations favoured for human settlement.”

Coldstream council previously asked administration for a report on the appropriate locations to construct nesting areas for turtles in the vicinity of Kalavista Lagoon. The project was broadened to include risks that impede turtles ability to breed and flourish.

The goal of the project was “to protect and enhance the habitat that currently exists and to add new pockets of habitat to promote a larger population in the Lagoon, and potentially have a large enough population to expand to other waterbodies.”

The report initially went before the Coldstream committee of the whole which now placed three recommendations before council.

Recommendation 1 has council go forward with six of seven ‘relatively simple’ items to aid the turtles.

  • Install information signage for the public at the lagoon and potential nesting sites
  • Encourage dogs be kept on leash around the lagoon to prevent harassment of the turtles
  • Installing basking log clusters in the center of the Lagoon
  • Regrading the shoreline to allow turtles to enter and exit the lagoon more easily
  • Installing artificial nesting sites at 8505 Kalavista Drive, complete with exclusion fencing to protect the sites from predation
  • Planting native aquatic and riparian vegetation along the banks of the Kalavista Lagoon with native species preferred by turtles.

The committee did not include one item which would have installed turtle fencing to prevent turtles from reaching roads.

Recommendation 2 would have administration contact the provincial representative responsible for water levels in Kalamalka Lake to discuss increasing the water levels.

While Recommendation 3 has administration bring forward the estimates on the sediment removal from the Kalavista Lagoon, previously obtained by the District, to a future Council meeting. It would also investigate grant opportunities to assist with funding the sediment removal from the Kalavista Lagoon to bring forward to a future Council meeting.

The full turtle habitat assessment report can be read online here.

More Vernon News