RRCA Installing 15 Turtle Basking Platforms at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area

August 9, 2021

RRCA Stewardship Coordinator, Jessica Herrington (right) and Summer Student, Benjamin Pilon, installing a turtle platform near a viewing blind at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area.

Turtles at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area were quick to clamber atop new basking platforms being installed by Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) stewardship staff in various locations throughout the marsh. 15 platform sites were selected to provide turtles with maximum sun exposure as well as safety from predators. The floating platforms will also enhance turtle observation opportunities for visitors, with minimal disturbance to the basking reptiles. 

“These 15 new platforms will help the RRCA to monitor the turtle populations at Cooper Marsh,” says Brendan Jacobs, the RRCA’s Stewardship Specialist. “Cooper Marsh provides excellent and diverse habitat to several turtle species such as painted turtles, snapping turtles, and Blanding’s turtles.”

Throughout the summer months, visitors to the marsh can observe turtles congregating on the platforms as they absorb the sun’s heat. This allows the endothermic turtles to bring up their core body temperature. 

“Basking is essential for turtles,” Jacobs says. “It increases their metabolism, allowing them to carry on basic life processes such as moving, eating, and mating. It also helps them produce necessary vitamins and maintain general immunity.”

Jacobs says the RRCA is looking forward to implementing additional wildlife habitat and visitor experience enhancement projects, including biodiversity surveys, invasive species management, interpretive signage, and improvements to the Cooper Marsh Visitor Centre.

The Cooper Marsh Conservation Area is the proud legacy of the late Mr. William Cooper Sr., a past chair of the Raisin Region Conservation Authority. The cherished wetland is part of the larger Charlottenburgh Marsh – one of the most significant wetlands in all of Ontario. The RRCA actively maintains, protects, enhances, and restores this natural area. 

For more information, including directions to Cooper Marsh, please visit rrca.on.ca or contact (613) 938-3611 or info@rrca.on.ca.