What are these structures?
Over the summer, you likely noticed a number of these small fenced in areas appearing at the Delta. Those who may have participated in the EcoBlitz last April, may have an idea, but for the others, there was no doubt a lot of head scratching.
These sites are intended for protection of potential Western Painted Turtle Nest habitat, and were defined with involvement from the Oregon Zoo, The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (our close partners), and the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group, under the direction of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and of course had our full support. Two turtle species native to Oregon, the Western Painted Turtle and the Western Pond Turtle both nest in sunny dry soil, which makes these sites suitable. Though much of the Delta has similar habitat, these sites have been fenced to dissuade activity as they are adjacent to popular trails.
These pictures of a Western Painted turtle were taken at the Delta during our “Puppies and Ponies” event last June. It was seen East of the Power Lines along what is a temporary service track for the restoration work. (This turtle was considerably larger than any painted turtle I had ever seen back in the MidWest at I estimate nearly 12 inches (see below))
In November we finally installed some signs on the fence structures. Though our desire was that they include information about the Turtles, we got what we got.
Please share this with other visitors, as the more we take care of the Delta as responsible users, and respect the habitat for other Delta denizens, the more we can assure we get to continue using the site as the great recreation site that it is.