The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) lists Western Painted Turtles as a species of special concern. Habitat quantity and quality are the primary constraints limiting the populations.
Box Lake, near Nakusp, is known to have a resident population of Western Painted Turtles (WPT), however little is known about this specific population, and the quality and quantity of habitat. In 2019, ONA proposes to assess the Western Painted Turtle population, their associated key habitats, and install floating basking log habitat in the north and south end of the lake. This project is being initiated in 2019, with funding agreement with Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) recently signed. ONA has conducted similar Western Painted Turtle monitoring and habitat creation or enhancement projects in Revelstoke and in Penticton (PIB Oxbows).
The project goal is to gather updated information on the Box Lake Western Painted Turtle population and create basking log habitat that will provide safe thermoregulation and resting opportunities.
The current work plan includes:
- Conduct a desktop review of existing information on Western Painted Turtles in the Nakusp area;
- Use posters and Facebook posts to collect current and historical information from the Nakusp community;
- Conduct field surveys between May and October to assess existing basking habitat opportunities;
- Install additional basking log habitat in key locations;
- Monitor newly created basking habitat for turtle and general wildlife use though observation and camera trap surveys.