Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle Headstart Program
ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is proud to partner with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to give Spiny Softshell turtles and Map turtles a “headstart” on life in Lake Champlain. ECHO provides care over the winter for neonate turtles that were ‘extracted’ from their nests prematurely by predators, or neonates that were extracted or naturally emerged late in the fall when cold temperatures put them at grave risk if left on the beaches. As a threatened species in Vermont, with only 300 adult specimens estimated to live in the lake, the turtles that are a part of this program have better chances of survival in the wild. Every summer, ECHO releases the bigger and stronger turtles back into the lake every year in June. 2023 is our 16th year collaborating with the state on this program.