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Bog Turtle Conservation

The bog turtle, America's smallest turtle, is federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Bog Turtle

Listing Status: Threatened

The bog turtle, America's smallest turtle, is federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Bog turtles depend upon open, sunny, spring fed wetlands with scattered dry areas, and can be an indicator of water quality and wetland function. The greatest threats to bog turtles include habitat degradation and fragmentation from land conversion, habitat succession due to invasive exotic and native plants, and illegal trade and collecting.

Private landowners own the majority of remaining bog turtle habitat; good livestock grazing management has helped to conserve bog turtle habitat, demonstrating the important role that agriculture can play in conservation.

Goals and Objectives

NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners in target areas of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts to voluntarily restore and protect bog turtle habitat on private lands. This assistance helps producers plan and implement a variety of conservation activities, or practices, that benefit the turtle and agricultural operations.

Technical assistance is free to producers. The agency’s staff of experts and conservation partners work side-by-side with producers to develop a conservation plan. Each plan focuses on the restoration of bog turtle habitat and is tailored to the landowner’s property. These plans provide a roadmap for how to use a system of conservation practices to meet natural resource and production goals.

Financial assistance helps producers pay for the adoption of a system of conservation practices that improve the health of pastures and wetland ecosystems. NRCS assistance covers part of the cost. Common conservation practices include livestock fencing and alternative watering systems, controlling invasive plants, wetlands hydrology restoration and voluntary conservation easements.

The bog turtle is a nationally identified target species of the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership, a collaborative approach to conserve habitat on working lands. Since 2012, WLFW has enabled producers to conserve or create about 200 acres of bog turtle habitat. WLFW provides technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and other programs funded through the Farm Bill, the largest funding source for wildlife habitat conservation on private lands.


Core Conservation Practices

  • Restoration & Management of Rare & Declining Habitats (643)
  • Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management (644)
  • Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (645)
  • Early Successional Habitat Development/Management (647)

Supporting Conservation Practices

  • Brush Management (314)
  • Herbaceous Weed Control (315)
  • Conservation Cover (327)
  • Prescribed Burning (338)
  • Fence (382)
  • Riparian Herbaceous Cover (390)
  • Riparian Forest Buffer (391)
  • Filter Strip (393)
  • Stream Habitat Improvement (395)
  • Grade Stabilization (410)
  • Access Control (472)
  • Prescribed Grazing (528)
  • Stream Crossing (578)
  • Streambank and Shoreline Protection (580)
  • Structure for Water Control (587)
  • Watering Facility (614)
  • Wetland Restoration (657)
  • Wetland Enhancement (659)

How to apply  for Financial Assistance

Visit your local NRCS office to apply. You will need to fill out an application.

Program Contacts:

Jared Shippey

Assistant State Conservationist for Programs

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