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Township of Oro-Medonte: Turtle Guardian Partnership Project

Municipal Profile

Oro-Medonte is a rural community located between the cities of Barrie and Orillia, and has more than 20,000 full-time residents. Covering 61,000 hectares of land in the heart of Simcoe County, the Township is highlighted by a picturesque landscape of prominent rolling hills and nearly 40 kilometres of Lake Simcoe shoreline.

Project Name and Description

Turtle Guardian Partnership Project

Member of the community came forward with a recommendation, which had initially started as a complaint, regarding mowing practices on a portion of the rail trail by Line 15 and Woodland. The resident provided photographs of snapping turtle nests, and this led to a conversation about the turtles and the potential for a turtle monitoring activity. Operations then communicated the concern to staff responsible for landscaping with the Township, and required rail trail inspections to be completed as part of maintenance.

This was an opportunity to make the operations staff aware of the turtles, and the need to protect the nesting areas and the surrounding biodiversity through an improved mowing standard. Approximately 15-20 nests were discovered along 2,000 feet of trail.

This project was a true grassroots effort, with the community memebrs bringing forward the recommendation and providing monitoring for the trail. The Township included a link to trail etiquette and turtle information as part of their Spring Recreation Guide.

Turtle crossing signs were provided by Kids for Turtles, a non-for-profit organization promoting public awareness of wildlife habitats through environmental education, with the Township contributing posts for the signage and completing the installation.

Project Contact (Staff)

  • Shawn Binns
  • Director, Recreation & Community Services
  • E: sbinns@oro-medonte.ca
  • P: 705.487.2171 x.2127

Date of Implementation

The initiative began on 2013, with the mowing practices to further protect the turtle habitat on-going.

Drivers/Champion

What was your municipalities’ main reason for moving this project forward? Who was the biggest champion for the project?)

Supporting sustainability through the reduction of the Township’s environmental footprint relates to five (5) of the Township’s Strategic Plan's overarching goals including: (1) Quality of Life, (2) Safe and Healthy Community, (3) Service Excellence, (4) Sustainability, and (5) Financial Stewardship.

Challenges/Obstacles

The most apparent challenge was increasing awareness of the project – both for staff and the community. Additional communication efforts, including social media could be considered to enhance understanding of the importance of road and trail-side habitat.

Financial Considerations

No additional cost was borne by the Township, beside the contribution of the sign posts for the project. No specific training was required for staff or contractors, as the direction for limited mowing in the sensitive areas was provided in work and project descriptions.

Document Link or Attachment

Proud Heritage, Exciting Future

2015-2018 Strategic Plan

Type of Case Study

☒Education and Outreach

☒Policy Adjustment or Development

☒Partnerships & Collaboration

☐Enforcements & Incentives

☒Implementation of Programs & Services

☐Facilities & Infrastructure Improvements

Website: Visit Site


Photos



148 Line 7 South
Oro-Medonte, Ontario, L0L 2E0