The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources recently launched a new volunteer opportunity to directly help the imperiled diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) of Virginia. These unique turtles inhabit brackish water habitats. They are considered keystone predators of herbivorous crabs and snails in salt marsh ecosystems, a key role in the maintenance of overall marsh health.
The project will launch in Spring 2023 using volunteers doing standardized ‘headcounts’ from canoes and kayaks in search of terrapins along Virginia tidal tributaries throughout the coastal region. The data collected will identify waterways that are of high value to terrapins. CCRM is providing suitable habitat range maps for this charismatic species, in addition to ongoing research about terrapins being harmed by derelict crab pots.