Vegetation Community in progress

Southwestern Pond Turtle Recovery Project

The southwestern pond turtle (Emys marmorata pallida) is California’s only extant native freshwater turtle and is in decline throughout its range, having been extirpated from much of coastal southern California. Historically, the pond turtle inhabited coastal draining streams, ponds, and lakes feeding primarily on small aquatic invertebrates and vegetation while having no native aquatic predators). However, threats to the pond turtle now include altered hydrology (dams and diversions), habitat fragmentation and direct mortality from roads and development, and predation by nonnative aquatic species including bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). The San Diego Management and Monitoring Program (SDMMP) supports the MSCP and has developed the Management Strategic Plan to define the management area (the western portion of San Diego County; MSPA) with distinct management units (11 management units grouping preserves and preserve complexes; MU) within the MSPA to assist with prioritizing management actions to conserve the 75 species covered by the MSCP, including the pond turtle. Since 2002, USGS, in support of Sandag and SDMMP, has been conducting research on the natural history of southwestern pond turtle to understand the demography of rare and listed taxa in the region which includes the MSPA. This research includes studying the responses of the pond turtle to large scale threats, such as drought and wildfire, as well as smaller scale threats, such as from nonnative taxa. Specifically, our research seeks to understand the causes of decline of the pond turtle on conserved lands, which includes lands within the MSPA, and how the populations respond to management actions including pond turtle translocation and nonnative aquatic species removal.
Project Focus
Project type: Habitat restoration
Target species: Southwestern pond turtle
Data steward: Chris Brown
Investigator: Robert N. Fisher
Main implementing entity: U.S. Geological Survey
Partner: California Department of Fish & Wildlife; San Diego Zoo
Point of contact: Chris Brown
Project Page manager: Sarah McCutcheon
SDMMP lead: Chris Brown
Study lead: Chris Brown
Reports
Reports Available: Yes
File name Lead Author Year Type
Arroyo Toad and Western Pond Turtle in the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program Area, 2002 Meyer, Kathie; Ervin, Edward; Madden-Smith, Melanie; Hathaway, Stacie; Fisher, Robert N. 2003 report
Data Summary for the TransNet Environmental Mitigation Program Grant Agreement 5001140 Regarding Southwestern Pond Turtle Restoration at Sycuan Peak Ecological Reserve, March 2012 Brown, Chris; Hathaway, Stacie; Fisher, Robert N. 2012 report
Distribution and Status of the Arroyo Toad (Bufo californicus) and Western Pond Turtle (Emys marmorata) in the San Diego MSCP and Surrounding Areas Final Report 10/11/05 Madden-Smith, Melanie; Ervin, Edward; Meyer, Kathie; Hathaway, Stacie; Fisher, Robert 2005 report
Draft Final: Follow-up to Rancho Jamul and Sycuan Peak Western Pond Turtle Translocation June 2015–March 2017 Brown, Chris; Grolle, Lizzie; Hitchcock, Cynthia J.; Fisher, Robert N. 2020 report
Draft Final: Western Pond Turtle Response to Translocation and Nonnative Aquatic Species Removal, March 2017–March 2018 Brown, Chris; Grolle, Lizzie; Hitchcock, Cynthia J.; Fisher, Robert N. 2020 report
Draft Final: Western Pond Turtle Response to Translocation and Nonnative Aquatic Species Removal, March 2018–March 2019 Brown, Chris; Clark, Denise; Hitchcock, Cynthia J.; Fisher, Robert N. 2020 report
Research for Restoration and Recovery of a Protected Species: Results of Management Actions for the Southern Western Pond Turtle (Emys pallida) in San Diego Brown, Chris; Fisher, Robert N.; Owens, Thomas 2020 powerpoint presentation
Southwestern Pond Turtle: Connectivity Strategic Plan for Western San Diego County Brown, Chris 2014 powerpoint presentation
Status and Management in San Diego County Brown, Chris 2018 powerpoint presentation
Status and Management of the Pacific Pond Turtle in San Diego County with Consideration of Road Effects Brown, Chris; Madden, Melanie; Fisher, Robert N. 2015 powerpoint presentation
The Western Pond Turtle (Emys marmorata) in the San Diego MSCP and Surrounding Areas Madden-Smith, Melanie 2004 powerpoint presentation
USGS Western Pond Turtle (Emys marmorata) Trapping Survey Protocol for the Southcoast Ecoregion U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center 2006 other
USGS Western Pond Turtle (Emys marmorata) Visual Survey Protocol for the Southcoast Ecoregion U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center 2006 other
Western Pond Turtle (Emys marmorata) Restoration and Enhancement in San Diego County, CA, 2013-2015 Brown, Chris; Aguilar Duran, Angelica; Madden, Melanie; Fisher, Robert N. 2015 report
Western Pond Turtle (Emys marmorata) Restoration and Enhancement in San Diego County, CA, 2013-2015 Brown, Chris; Madden, Melanie; Aguilar Duran, Angelica; Fisher, Robert N. 2015 report
Western Pond Turtle Status and Management in San Diego County Brown, Chris 2018 powerpoint presentation
Western Pond Turtle Surveys and Habitat Restoration Plan (#P0650002) County of San Diego, Department of Parks and Recreation 2008 report
Who let the turtles out? Fisher, Robert N.; Madden-Smith, Melanie; Meyer, Kathie 2003 other