Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) select populations COSEWIC assessment and status report 2016: appendix 2

Appendix 2a. Threats assessment worksheet, Blanding’s Turtle, Nova Scotia Population.

Threats assessment worksheet

Species or ecosystem scientific name:
Blanding’s Turtle, Nova Scotia population
Element ID
-
Elcode
-
Date:
27/03/2015
Assessor(s):
Nova Scotia recovery team members: Diane Clapp, Harold Clapp, Megan Crowley, Mark Elderkin, Colin Gray, Norm Green, Sue Green, Tom Herman, Sarah Jeremy, Shalan Joudry, Chris McCarthy, Julie McKnight, Jeffie McNeil (also status report author), Sally O’Grady, Bradley Toms, Sarah Walton. COSEWIC Amphibians and Reptiles SSC: Jim Bogart (co-chair). Facilitator: Dave Fraser (COSEWIC). COSEWIC secretariat: Bev McBride (notes)
References:
-
Overall threat impact calculation help:
Threat impact Threat impact (descriptions) Level 1 Threat impact counts:
high range
Level 1 Threat impact counts:
low range
A Very high 0 0
B High 0 0
C Medium 3 1
D Low 3 5
- Calculated overall threat impact: High High
Threats assessment worksheet
Threat Threat Impact (calculated) Impact (calculated) Scope (next 10 Yrs) Severity (10 Yrs or 3 Gen.) Timing Comments
1 Residential & commercial development D Low Small (1-10%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) -
1.1 Housing & urban areas blank Negligible Small (1-10%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) blank
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas blank blank blank blank blank blank
1.3 Tourism & recreation areas D Low Small (1-10%) Slight (1-10%) Moderate (Possibly in the short term, < 10 yrs) Activities that may cause threats include constructing jumps for ATV users and a private landowner who intends to develop a tour operation near part of the population.
2 Agriculture & aquaculture blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) -
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) Christmas tree farming: change to habitat and risk from motor vehicles operating on farms.
2.2 Wood & pulp plantations blank blank blank blank blank -
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching blank blank blank blank blank blank
2.4 Marine & freshwater aquaculture blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) Various activities at a provincial fish hatchery near a dam where turtles nest may pose threats including vehicle movement and adding substances to the water.
3 Energy production & mining blank Unknown Small (1-10%) Unknown Moderate (Possibly in the short term, < 10 yrs) -
3.1 Oil & gas drilling blank blank blank blank blank blank
3.2 Mining & quarrying D Low Small (1-10%) Serious - Slight (1-70%) Moderate (Possibly in the short term, < 10 yrs) Mining rights and active surveyors in the areas used by turtles; existing quarry and gravel pits. Severity would depend on the type of habitat being affected, could be quite severe if impacted overwintering sites.
3.3 Renewable energy blank blank blank blank blank blank
4 Transportation & service corridors CD Medium - Low Large (31-70%) Moderate - Slight (1-30%) High (Continuing) blank
4.1 Roads & railroads CD Medium - Low Large (31-70%) Moderate - Slight (1-30%) High (Continuing) 35% of females known to cross roads. Mitigation activities to reduce road kill are assumed to be ongoing when estimating severity. More forestry roads are expected in areas used by turtles but these are temporary. Roads create nesting habitat but also increase the risk of road mortality.
4.2 Utility & service lines blank blank blank blank blank -
4.3 Shipping lanes blank blank blank blank blank blank
4.4 Flight paths blank blank blank blank blank blank
5 Biological resource use CD Medium - Low Pervasive (71-100%) Moderate - Slight (1-30%) High (Continuing) blank
5.1 Hunting & collecting terrestrial animals CD Medium - Low Large (31-70%) Moderate - Slight (1-30%) High - Low Threat is from illegal collection for pets or pet trade. This can be episodic. Blanding’s Turtles presently less sought after than some other species, but this could change.
5.2 Gathering terrestrial plants blank blank blank blank blank blank
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting D Low Restricted (11-30%) Moderate (11-30%) High (Continuing) Mitigation is in place but there are still impacts to turtles.
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources blank blank blank blank blank Blanding’s Turtles not known to be found as by-catch.
6 Human intrusions & disturbance D Low Large (31-70%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) blank
6.1 Recreational activities D Low Large (31-70%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) ATV users(on and off trails); recreational users (e.g., motor boat collisions).
6.2 War, civil unrest & military exercises blank blank blank blank blank blank
6.3 Work & other activities blank Negligible Pervasive (71-100%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) Researchers: small potential for impact from trapping and attachment of tracking devices.
7 Natural system modifications blank Unknown Large (31-70%) Unknown Moderate (Possibly in the short term, < 10 yrs) blank
7.1 Fire & fire suppression blank Unknown Unknown Unknown Moderate (Possibly in the short term, < 10 yrs) May be a risk to turtles on land.
7.2 Dams & water management/use blank Unknown Large (31-70%) Unknown High (Continuing) Change in water levels and conditions due to removal beaver dams (happens opportunistically but not through a program).
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications blank blank blank blank blank blank
8 Invasive & other problematic species & genes C Medium Pervasive (71-100%) Moderate (11-30%) High (Continuing) blank
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species BD High - Low Pervasive (71-100%) Serious - Slight (1-70%) High - Moderate Expansion of non-native fish species such as chain pickerel and smallmouth bass expected; these species known to eat hatchling turtles and alter species composition. The non-native Phragmites australis australis may also be a theat. It is has not been documented in Blanding’s habitat in NS at present but is expected to increase across the province and its negative effects on wetlands have been well documented elsewhere (note: The native species of Phragmites, P australis spp americanus, does occur near Blanding’s habitat but is not considered a threat).
8.2 Problematic native species C Medium Pervasive (71-100%) Moderate (11-30%) High (Continuing) Raccoons and red squirrels are both increasing due to human activity, increasing threat to eggs and hatchlings. Up to 100% of nests would be affected but nest protection has reduced this amount and is expected to continue for the next 10 years at least.
8.3 Introduced genetic material blank blank blank blank blank -
9 Pollution blank Unknown Pervasive (71-100%) Unknown High (Continuing) blank
9.1 Household sewage & urban waste water blank blank blank blank blank -
9.2 Industrial & military effluents blank blank blank blank blank blank
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents blank Unknown Small (1-10%) Unknown High (Continuing) Pesticide use at Christmas tree farms.
9.4 Garbage & solid waste blank blank blank blank blank -
9.5 Air-borne pollutants blank Unknown Pervasive (71-100%) Unknown High (Continuing) Mercury from various sources (needs more investigation; also includes natural background levels)
9.6 Excess energy blank blank blank blank blank -
10 Geological events blank blank blank blank blank blank
10.1 Volcanoes blank blank blank blank blank blank
10.2 Earthquakes/tsunamis blank blank blank blank blank blank
10.3 Avalanches/landslides blank blank blank blank blank blank
11 Climate change & severe weather D Low Pervasive (71-100%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) blank
11.1 Habitat shifting & alteration blank Not Calculated (outside assessment timeframe) Pervasive (71-100%) Unknown Low (Possibly in the long term, >10 yrs) Climate change may reduce the number of years in which ice scouring occurs. Ice scouring is needed in some but not all years to keep nesting beaches in good condition.
11.2 Droughts blank Not Calculated (outside assessment timeframe) Pervasive (71-100%) Unknown Low (Possibly in the long term, >10 yrs) Models predict warmer, drier summers for Atlantic Canada.
11.3 Temperature extremes blank Unknown Pervasive (71-100%) Unknown Unknown May affect sex ratio as sex determination is temperature dependent; may affect nesting success as eggs may not incubate properly. Could potentially increase overwintering mortality which would increase severity considerably.
11.4 Storms & flooding D Low Pervasive (71-100%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) Can affect nesting, wintering, and estivation sites. Interventions sometimes possible to rescue nests.

Classification of Threats adopted from IUCN-CMP, Salafsky et al. (2008).

Appendix 2b. Threats calculator - Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence Population

Threats assessment worksheet

Species or ecosystem scientific name:
Blanding’s Turtle, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population
Element ID
-
Elcode
-
Date:
30/03/2015
Assessor(s):
Status report authors: Teresa Piraino, Jeffie McNeil; MMFP QC: Yohann Dubois, Daniel Toussaint; OMNR: Graham Cameron, Joe Crowley (also AR SSC), Colin Jones; CWS QR: Gabrielle Fortin; COSEWIC Amphibians and Reptiles SSC: Jim Bogart (co-chair), Ron Brooks, Jackie Litzgus, Dennis Murray; Other experts: Scott Gillingwater, Christina Davy; Facilitator: Dave Fraser (COSEWIC); COSEWIC secretariat: Bev McBride (notes)
References:
-
Overall threat impact calculation help:
Threat impact Threat impact (descriptions) Level 1 Threat impact counts:
high range
Level 1 Threat impact counts:
low range
A Very high 0 0
B High 2 0
C Medium 1 3
D Low 3 3
- Calculated overall threat impact: Very High High
Threats assessment worksheet
Threat Threat Impact (calculated) Impact (calculated) Scope (next 10 Yrs) Severity (10 Yrs or 3 Gen.) Timing Comments
1 Residential & commercial development C Medium Restricted (11-30%) Serious (31-70%) High (Continuing) -
1.1 Housing & urban areas C Medium Restricted (11-30%) Serious (31-70%) High (Continuing) Urban development continues to expand in many parts of Blanding’s Turtle range in Ontario and Quebec such that habitat is affected. Several residential developments have been approved or proposed within Blanding’s Turtle habitat in Ontario between 2010 and 2014.
1.2 Commercial & industrial areas blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Serious (31-70%) High (Continuing) Developments of this type are less likely than housing to be made in previously pristine areas.
1.3 Tourism & recreation areas D Low Small (1-10%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) In Quebec a park development project may take place in the next 10 years that will affect the species.
2 Agriculture & aquaculture D Low Small (1-10%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) -
2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops D Low Restricted (11-30%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) Agricultural expansion expected to be negligible in next 10 years. Injury to adults and nests have been observed where turtles use agricultural lands. Use of agricultural areas known in southern Ontario and Quebec, but minimal in the Canadian Shield. Females may use flooded sections of hayfields as a staging areas for several days before nesting in the field.
2.2 Wood & pulp plantations blank blank blank blank blank -
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) Blanding’s Turtles are known to nest on ranchlands/pasture in Quebec. In Ontario no new areas of this are expected; grazing is generally decreasing.
2.4 Marine & freshwater aquaculture blank blank blank blank blank blank
3 Energy production & mining blank Unknown Restricted (11-30%) Unknown High (Continuing) -
3.1 Oil & gas drilling blank blank blank blank blank blank
3.2 Mining & quarrying blank Unknown Restricted (11-30%) Unknown High (Continuing) Hundreds of active mines, quarries and claims in or near areas used by Blanding’s Turtles. While mines do not generally go directly into wetlands, they can affect water bodies by changing hydrology and causing pollution, and they can cause fragmentation of habitat (since Blanding’s Turtles use multiple wetlands). Furthermore, individuals are not deterred from moving through these areas and are attracted to quarries for nesting (demonstrated by radio tracking in Ontario and Quebec). Adults, nests and hatchlings may be harmed by equipment.
3.3 Renewable energy blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) In southern Ontario several wind farm developments are approved and proposed in Blanding’s Turtle habitat. Related roadways are expected to have the greatest impact, rather than the turbines themselves.
4 Transportation & service corridors BC High - Medium Pervasive (71-100%) Serious - Moderate (11-70%) High (Continuing) blank
4.1 Roads & railroads B High Pervasive (71-100%) Serious (31-70%) High (Continuing) Lots of evidence of mortality of adults on roads across the range. Roadkills have been recorded from major roadways, rural county roads, park roads, gravel forestry access roads and railroads. This species is known to travel several kilometers over land, thus adults likely often encounter roads/railroads even if their residence wetland does not occur along such infrastructure.
4.2 Utility & service lines blank Negligible Small (1-10%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) Threat is from use of heavy equipment for brush clearing and other maintenance activities.
4.3 Shipping lanes blank blank blank blank blank blank
4.4 Flight paths blank blank blank blank blank blank
5 Biological resource use D Low Pervasive (71-100%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) blank
5.1 Hunting & collecting terrestrial animals C Medium Pervasive (71-100%) Moderate (11-30%) High (Continuing) There is increasing evidence in recent years that Canadian Blanding’s Turtles are being illegally harvested to supply the Asian food and traditional medicine trade at home and abroad. This demand is expected to rise in Ontario as the number of cultural consumers continues to grow. There is also an increasing demand for Blanding’s Turtles in the pet trade. Wild Blanding’s Turtles from southern Ontario have been found in possession of Toronto practitioners and in 2014 several individuals were found hidden in luggage destined for Chinese pet/food black markets.
5.2 Gathering terrestrial plants blank blank blank blank blank blank
5.3 Logging & wood harvesting D Low Large (31-70%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) In Ontario, Blanding’s Turtles are known to occur extensively throughout Crown forests where forest management activities are conducted. This species is known to use upland forest habitat extensively for travel and for vernal pool foraging, which increases the risk of encounters with heavy machinery. However, the Forestry Stand and Site Guide provides several mitigation measures to reduce the risk of impacts.
5.4 Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Unknown High (Continuing) Blanding’s Turtles are sometimes caught incidentally (bycatch) during legal recreational (or possibly illegal) snapping turtle hunt (Ontario), and may not always be released since there is a ready market for them.
6 Human intrusions & disturbance D Low Large (31-70%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) blank
6.1 Recreational activities D Low Large (31-70%) Slight (1-10%) High (Continuing) Ontario: boat and propeller strikes (10% of captured individuals from a subpopulation in a protected area showed evidence of this). On L. Erie shoreline, turtles venturing further into lake in path of boats and silt and vegetation increase at shoreline. Mortality due to ATV users crushing nests.
6.2 War, civil unrest & military exercises blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Unknown High (Continuing) Military exercises and vehicles may harm individuals and nests on bases.
6.3 Work & other activities blank Negligible Restricted (11-30%) Negligible (<1%) High (Continuing) Occurs in a few areas.
7 Natural system modifications blank Unknown Large (31-70%) Unknown Moderate (Possibly in the short term, < 10 yrs) blank
7.1 Fire & fire suppression blank Negligible Negligible (<1%) Unknown High (Continuing) Threat not well studied. Has been known to affect Spotted Turtles. Blanding’s Turtles at two southern Ontario sites have been observed with fire-damaged shells.
7.2 Dams & water management/use CD Medium - Low Restricted - Small (1-30%) Serious - Moderate (11-70%) High (Continuing) Removal of Beaver dams during hibernation poses a serious threat to hibernating individuals. An increasing concern in Quebec since citizens within Regional County Municipalities are now obliged to remove dams on private lands that may represent a threat to human safety. The Scope is likely >10% in Quebec. In Ontario, there is evidence that Beaver dams have been removed in known Blanding’s Turtle habitat within provincially-managed protected areas during the hibernation period. Large areas of wetlands can be drained by the removal of a single Beaver dam.
7.3 Other ecosystem modifications D Low Small (1-10%) Serious - Moderate (11-70%) High (Continuing) Dredging; mostly a concern in southern Ontario. One operation during winter was known to kill at least 14 adults from a protected area. These activities likely occur in several managed areas. Some infilling of wetlands on L. Erie shore.
8 Invasive & other problematic species & genes BC High - Medium Large (31-70%) Serious - Moderate (11-70%) High (Continuing) blank
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species BC High - Medium Large (31-70%) Serious - Moderate (11-70%) High (Continuing) Non-native Phragmites grass rapidly expanding in southern Ontario, particularly an issue near L. Erie and Huron shorelines; currently less prevalent in Canadian Shield but predicted to occur throughout southern Canada by 2030.
8.2 Problematic native species C Medium Large (31-70%) Moderate (11-30%) High (Continuing) An increase over "background" mortality due to native predators is assumed because of 100% nest depredation in some cases. Less pervasive in Shield but known to occur in cottage country.
8.3 Introduced genetic material blank blank blank blank blank -
9 Pollution blank Unknown Restricted (11-30%) Unknown High (Continuing) blank
9.1 Household sewage & urban waste water blank Unknown Restricted (11-30%) Unknown High (Continuing) Nutrient and sediment loading in SW Ontario; also affects Georgian Bay coastal populations.
9.2 Industrial & military effluents blank Unknown Small (1-10%) Unknown High (Continuing) Some evidence of mercury from mining sources.
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents blank Unknown Restricted (11-30%) Unknown High (Continuing) Mostly in agricultural areas; not expected from forestry operations.
9.4 Garbage & solid waste blank blank blank blank blank -
9.5 Air-borne pollutants blank blank blank blank blank blank
9.6 Excess energy blank Unknown Unknown Unknown High (Continuing) -
10 Geological events blank blank blank blank blank blank
10.1 Volcanoes blank blank blank blank blank blank
10.2 Earthquakes/tsunamis blank blank blank blank blank blank
10.3 Avalanches/landslides blank blank blank blank blank blank
11 Climate change & severe weather blank Unknown Unknown Unknown High (Continuing) blank
11.1 Habitat shifting & alteration blank Not Calculated (outside assessment timeframe) Restricted (11-30%) Unknown Low (Possibly in the long term, >10 yrs) Water levels in L. Erie and L. Huron are dropping due to warmer temps; coastal wetland habitat availability is reducing. Blanding’s Turtle has a narrow thermal tolerance range and appears to be highly sensitive to climate change; 50-75% of currently suitable areas across the range are predicted to become unsuitable for Blanding’s Turtle by 2050, dropping to <25% by 2080. Most of southwestern Ontario likely will not be climatically suitable for this species by 2080 and due to large-scale habitat fragmentation in the region, these subpopulations will not be able to migrate north.
11.2 Droughts blank Unknown Unknown Unknown High (Continuing) Lower water levels in L. Erie and L. Huron causing drying and succession in coastal marshes. Drought is suspected as part of the cause of a mass mortality event at a provincial park when 53 of 101 marked turtles died within a short time period. Cause unknown but drought may have led to lower water levels allowing predators more access, or shallower water led turtles to freeze during winter, subsequently being scavenged.
11.3 Temperature extremes blank Not Calculated (outside assessment timeframe) Pervasive (71-100%) Unknown Low (Possibly in the long term, >10 yrs) May affect sex ratio as sex determination is temperature dependent; may affect nesting success as eggs may not incubate properly.
11.4 Storms & flooding blank Unknown Unknown Unknown High (Continuing) At least one nesting site in Ontario washed away by storms. Not well studied.

Classification of Threats adopted from IUCN-CMP, Salafsky et al. (2008).

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: