Re: NANFA-- r (hellbenders plus!)

Todd Crail (
Sun, 11 Jan 2004 20:58:24 -0500

You've illustrated my point Mike :)

No, that population is _not_ the only population of blandings in Ohio, and
this is why I have a _huge_ problem with amatuers deciding what is okay for
them to do with declining species. Perhaps you work with one of the Local,
State or Federal agencies even... Now that _really_ illustrates how little
_individuals_ do know, and why erring on the side of caution is the absolute
best for the _organisms_, when considering removing any declining species
from a wild population.

(hint: don't tell us if you do work for an agency :)

I did fish identification work with the Sandusky County Parks last summer as
they are currently assessing the diversity found in their properties. They
feel they have a good grip on the avian components that come through the
flyway, and they thought they'd diversify their scope a bit ;)

As a side discussion to my piscean frenzy, _three_ blandings _were_ recorded
without any mark and recaptures in 2003, as had happened in the year prior
according to Tom Kashmer, the fella who's been running their surveys (I'm
not sure how many were marked in 2002, I can find out). One of the
specimens in 2003 was captured by some guy who felt sorry for the "little
turtle crossing the road" and took it home..! Through a stroke of good
fortune, he decided he had better take it into the park office just in case
it was something special because he wasn't able to ID it with any
information he had. Aiye aiye aiye!

My friend Greg Lipps is also doing formal and informal surveys for spotted
and blandings in the Oak Openings region of western Lucas county (he was
also involved in Sandusky county but didn't find any... And he's the pro! :)
He has found populations of blandings (the spotteds are gimmes.. I've even
seen them do their "business" and I'm not really into herps ;) I do not
know what the specifics are for what he has found, I can ask if he'd be
willing to provide basic data if we would like it documented (no, I'm not
handing out gps coordinates ;) He is working as an agent of ODNR and ODNAP,
so the State, at least, is aware of his work and probably have had his data
reported in by now.

These are definately fragmented populations... There's no disagreement on
that. But I must ask, what distance are we talking about between the three
known populations in this discussion, and really, _how_ fragmented are they?
Lake Erie marshes run the entire length of that habitat... It's not like
they're in two fens or marshes, one in the middle of Seneca county in the
Sandusky River watershed and one in the middle of Hancock county in the
Maumee River Watershed, where they would have their chances of interacting
_severely_ inhibited by the farm fields inbetween.

FWIW to non Ohioans, it looks like this county by county

*Lucas - #Ottawa - #Erie - *Sandusky (inland a bit) - Lorain - *Cuyahoga

* = known populations in this discussion
# = large expanses of the habitat still intact through federal, state and
local preserves

Having personally seen how hard it is to find, say, a spotted turtle that
has radio telemetry "strapped" on it's back by the _professionals_... I
really don't think an _ethical_ private individual would feel _any right_ to
say where and when and why. Most of the time, I don't think agency people
do either, and they generally don't advocate taking anything that could even
potentially be in harms way. I wonder why :)

Additionally, the current _human_ mystery of understanding how Genotype
functions in greater populations, wether organisms are on the outer fringe
of their historic range or well within, really leads me to believe it is NOT
up to an amatuer, regardless of what they think they may be able to add to
the collective knowledge or not, to decide what is in the best interest of
wild populations.

I have other species by species examples (one that's even dead on with our
true forum here!), including a case made on the population dynamics of a
re-introduced Federally Endangered butterfly to the Oak Openings of Western
Lucas county, which I worked as part of the team last summer... And how many
other species in decline have their habitat protected by this one animal
(I'm not fond of the "money spent better elsewhere" concept. Anywhere we
can get it is good. Diversity does best when out of the "one basket"! :)

I feel satisfied this particular information about the blandings illustrates
my arguments enough, and as I said before, I'm staying of the "but what
about x species?" game. This however, was a situation too fortuitous and
juicy for me to pass on. ;)

Well all of that, and I'm not allowed to talk about the fish one in public.
I would be thoroughly flogged if someone got a phone call. ;)


----- Original Message -----
From: "mike sandel" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 4:18 PM
Subject: Re: NANFA-- r (hellbenders plus!)

> I agree completely, In Ohio, great lengths are being
> taken to preserve a single (our last) population of
> blandings turtles. While this species is under
> considerable threat throughout its range, the
> resources spent to re-stock a cleveland metropark
> could be put to better use....for example,,habitat
> restoration in a less impacted part of the state, or
> anyplace else in the country which would have suitable
> habitat to sustain a healthy population, even,,
> forgive me, the mainstem population in Michigan. I
> understand that a state as an entity would like to
> maintain biodiversity, but the efforts are futile
> unless the population is considered as a whole, not
> divided by our state lines, as you said.
> For the record, if our buckeye turtles were competing
> with the turtles from Michigan, ours would win.
> Mike
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