Bush Lake Chapter

Izaak Walton League of America

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Join the Bush Lake Turtle Team!

04/08/2015 9:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

WANTED: Walkers to Assist Turtle-Crossings on East Bush Lake Road and West Bush Lake Road During Migration Seasons 2015

The turtles in West Bloomington, primarily painted and snapping turtles, will soon begin emerging from overwintering in Bush Lake and crossing these roads to shallower wetlands on the other side.

Your Help Is Needed

Your participation to help turtles cross East Bush Lake Road and West Bush Lake Road during their upcoming nesting season is vital to their preservation.

Last May through mid October, one volunteer randomly logged 100+ painted turtle mortalities on East Bush Lake Road using the MN DNR-sanctioned GPS program, HerpMapper. Only a handful of snapping turtles were seen which might lead one to believe that this once turtle-vibrant area is losing this species.

How do I participate?

This is a volunteer-driven initiative supported by the Bush Lake Chapter. We encourage you to monitor East and West Bush Lake Roads via the existing walk/bike paths at your convenience and as often as possible during turtle migration seasons. In addition to walking with the purpose to assist turtles, you might consider joining others for nature-loving camaraderie by contacting Bush Lake Ikes member, Cheryl Wilke, at cwwilke@comcast.net. She will offer organized group times and locations.

May I bring my children or grandchildren?

Sorry, but the organized walks are for adults only.

How long is the program? 

End of April through October.

What should I bring?

Tennis shoes, gloves (latex), raincoat and boots if raining, and a shovel to assist moving snapping turtles.

Can I take photographs?

We’d love for you to take photos and collect data with your smartphone camera using HerpMapper. For information about how to upload and use HerpMapper, visit http://www.herpmapper.org/help  or contact Cheryl at cwwilke@comcast.net.

Additional Information

Minnesota Statute: Subd. 7. Cruelty. No person shall willfully instigate or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal or animals, or any act tending to produce cruelty to animals.

If you see someone deliberately swerve his/her vehicle to kill a turtle on the road, safely attempt to snap a photograph of vehicle and license plate, and report this active cruelty to the local police department, the appropriate sheriff’s department, and cruelty investigators with the Animal Humane Society at (763) 489-2236 or www.animalhumanesociety.org/advocacy/humane-investigations.  All three agencies are responsible for enforcement of anti-cruelty laws. 

Snappers Get a Bad Rap

While snapping turtles are often blamed for a reduction in fish and waterfowl populations, studies show that they eat insignificant amounts of game fish. Mammalian nest predators and large fish kill far more waterfowl than do common snapping turtles. Snapping turtles are scavengers and clean up dead animals and fish. What most people don't know is that they also eat lots of plants. In fact, water plants make up to one one-third of their diet! Snapping turtles are important to have in our environment.

About Our Neighborhood Turtles

In late April/early May, turtles get antsy to start basking on warm, sunny days. The increase in body temperature is necessary for egg development within the female turtle.


Nesting in Minnesota typically occurs during June. Females are most active in late morning and late afternoon, and at dusk. Nesting can occur as far as a mile from wetlands.

After a development period of approximately two months, hatchlings leave the nest from mid-August through early-October.

Nesting females and hatchlings are often at risk of being killed

while crossing roads between wetlands and nesting areas.

In addition to movements associated with nesting, all ages and both sexes move between wetlands from April through November.

These movements peak in June and July, and again in September and October as turtles move to and from overwintering sites. In late autumn (typically November), turtles bury themselves in the substrate (the mud at the bottom) of deeper wetlands (i.e., Bush Lake) to overwinter.



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