NAFTRG Conducts Turtle Surveys in Texas

by Heather Lowe 

The North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group (NAFTRG) sampled the Comal Springs in New Braunfels, Texas for the fifth time (second time in 2013) from April 12 -14. Comal Springs is the headwaters to the Comal River and represents a very important ecological region in Texas. The study site is in Landa Lake, the headwaters of Comal Springs. This site is home to numerous endangered species as well as a host of invasive species. As a part of an ecosystem restoration and management project the city of New Braunfels initiated an invasive species removal program in 2013. The initiative is being conducted by SWCA Environmental Consultants, headed by NAFTRG Principle Investigator Eric Munscher. To date over 4,700 lbs. of invasive biomass (tilapia, armored catfish, nutria, and giant ramshorn snail) has been removed.

During the turtle survey in April, volunteers from SWCA Environmental Consultants, Turtle Survival Alliance, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Busch Gardens, Sea World San Antonio, Houston ISD, and other affiliates participated in the sampling effort. In just 2.5 field days, the group captured 452 turtles representing four species. Over half of the captures were Common Musk Turtles (Sternotherus odoratus). In just one year's time, the NAFTRG has already marked over 900 individuals in this spring-fed lake system.

The next sampling session for this spring will be September 20-22. Please come and join us! Click here to learn more about how you can participate.