Diamondback Terrapin Studies on Website

The TRWA sponsored 2018 study of the threatened Diamondback Terrapin  (a brackish water turtle) are on the website under the “Protect and Restore” drop down menu at the top of our home page under “Turtle Conservation” and at this link.  Diamondback Terrapin populations occur along the southern part of the state including populations in Assonet Bay and Broad Cove.  Assonet Bay is a small, tidal inland bay surrounded by the shores of Freetown and Berkley and is part of the Taunton River Watershed.  A small freshwater river flows from Long Pond southwest into the Bay, which then connects with the Taunton River that flows into Mt. Hope Bay.  In 2018 the study area was expanded to include Broad Cove a small, tidal, natural cove located on the border of Dighton and Somerset which is adjacent and west of the Taunton River 

Nesting Diamondback terrapins at both sites have been documented, but no thorough studies have been conducted to estimate the size and structure of this/these population/s.  The objectives of this multi-year study are to estimate the population size, age structure and sex ratio of Diamondback Terrapins in Lower Taunton River through Mark-Recapture.  Results from these studies are critical in the future management and conservation of this threatened species in Assonet Bay as well as other populations in southern Massachusetts.

Fifty-seven unique individuals were captured and just one recaptured individual in the first 3 years of the study.  2018 was the first year that attempts to protect nests took place.  The nesting areas identified in the 2017 report where found to be in continued use in 2018.  Identified nests where covered by wire cloth which was kept on top of the nest by ground staples to prevent depredation along with flagging tape marked with the date each nest was found.

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