DNREC Seeks Volunteers to Help Nesting Diamondback Terrapins - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DNREC Seeks Volunteers to Help Nesting Diamondback Terrapins

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A diamondback terrapin at Port Mahon (Courtesy: DNREC) A diamondback terrapin at Port Mahon (Courtesy: DNREC)

DOVER, Del. - DNREC is looking for volunteers to help terrapins comes ashore to lay eggs near Little Creek.

At the peak of nesting season, hundreds of diamondback terrapins can be seen in the water off Port Mahon as they approach the shoreline. When the tides, temperature and humidity are right, the females come ashore to nest.

One of their many nesting spots is along the Delaware Bayshore's Port Mahon Road, where a volunteer training is scheduled for May 18 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Port Mahon Road snugly borders the bay in some locations and is often flooded with water and debris during high tides and storm events. For that reason, starting in 2015, large rocks were placed along sections of the road to protect it from erosion and debris accumulation. Unfortunately, these rocks can trap terrapins as they head to and from the water.

To help the terrapins cross the road safely, the Delaware Department of Transportation has constructed two "experimental terrapin tunnels," These are wide concrete pipes that run under the rocks to provide the terrapins with safe passage between the bay and their nesting areas. Volunteers will monitor the terrapins and their use of the tunnels.

"With only two test tunnels in place, many terrapins may not be close enough to use one, so volunteers are needed to help the terrapins navigate into the tunnels or around the rocks," said Wildlife Biologist Holly Niederriter from the Division of Fish & Wildlife. "If terrapin passage through the tunnels appears to be successful, additional tunnels may be added along the road in the future."

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Chase McLean at 302-735-8669, or email chase.mclean@state.de.us .

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