A benevolent team consisting of environmentalists, researchers, state employees and contractors have taken to tracking (using turtle tracking retrievers), collecting and individually relocating eastern box turtles, which lie on the path of the large upcoming InterCounty Connector (ICC).
The eastern box turtles are so called because they are native to the eastern United States. They are found in grasslands and pastures, and also prefer mixed forested regions, and a moist environment. These turtles have to be hand-picked because let’s face it – they are turtles and they cannot outrun bulldozers. Permanent crossings for the turtles and for other wildlife have been proposed once the ICC project is complete.
All large scale developmental projects have to incorporate an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) component while proposing the project. Only when the EIA report is submitted, proving that the projects will not have lasting repercussions on the environment, are they given a ‘go’. EIA studies are severely opposed to, but mandatory in almost all developed countries.
It is impressive to see such large scale projects giving way and taking into account conservation aspects. The turtles are being relocated and this cost has been budgeted into the project, moreover as an extension, the adaptation of these turtles to their new environment, and the ability of the ICC design to keep them out of harm’s way will also be looked into – it’s a researcher’s dream come true.