Blanding’s turtles (pictured above) are currently a species of special concern here in Michigan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is evaluating whether the Blanding’s turtle warrants protection as a federally endangered or threatened species and is drafting a Species Status Assessment to help inform the listing decision. It is anticipated the USFWS will make its decision by September 2023.
Turtle sighting data submitted through the DNR’s Eyes in the Field online reporting system, and verified by DNR and Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) staff, have been submitted for inclusion in the USFWS Species Status Assessment process.
In addition to the data being shared with partners MNFI and USFWS, data are also shared with the Michigan Herp Atlas project, and roadkill turtle reports are shared with the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The Michigan Herp Atlas is another way for community scientists to report reptile and amphibian sightings, beyond the rare species that can be reported through Eyes in the Field. Anyone can report sightings of turtles, snakes, lizards, salamanders, frogs and toads on the newly updated, and mobile friendly, MI Herp Atlas site at MIHerpAtlas.org. Data collected as part of the Michigan Herp Atlas project are also used to help inform conservation decisions.
Reports of turtles and other reptiles and amphibians are welcome throughout the rest of the summer and fall. Reports of rare turtles, including the Blanding’s turtle, eastern box turtle, spotted turtle and wood turtle can be reported through the DNR’s Eyes in the Field turtle reporting form. Sightings of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, a federally threatened species, can also be reported on Eyes in the Field.
Find more ways that you can help turtles and learn about the different species found in Michigan at Michigan.gov/Wildlife. You can learn more about USFWS Midwest Region Species of Concern, including the Blanding’s turtle, at the Region 3: Species of Concern page.
Questions? Contact DNR Wildlife Division