Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Partnering to save endangered animals: Pennsylvania

We're so excited about the new interactive map highlighting endangered species efforts in each state across the nation. Each day we'll feature a state, partner and animal. Subscribe on the right to keep up!

We established the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Pennsylvania in part to protect the federally threatened bog turtle. Pennsylvania state agencies all identified habitat loss and fragmentation -- mostly due to development -- as the main threat facing North America's smallest turtles. 

When the refuge boundary was established, Cherry Valley was experiencing a surge in residential development that threatened the turtle’s habitat -- wet meadows and other shallow, sunny wetlands, known as fens. Refuge Manager Michael Horne says the first parcel acquired for the refuge provided “promising wetlands in terms of bog turtle management.” Read more of the story.

Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS

Here are some other stories featured on Pennsylvania’s page:
  • Small-whorled pogonia: This member of the orchid family grows in acidic soils on slopes near small streams in Litchfield and New London Counties. The plant is named for the whorl of 5 to 6 leaves near the top of the stem and beneath the flower. 
  • Northern riffleshell: Endangered throughout its range, the surviving Pennsylvania populations are some of the best remaining in the world. Water pollution, dam construction and dredging are the major causes for its decline, but other threats include stream sedimentation, channelization and reduced host fish populations.
  • Bog turtle: North America's smallest turtle, the bog turtle faces the loss, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat from wetland alteration, development, pollution, invasive species and plant succession.

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