Each nesting season, diamondback terrapins are killed or injured by motor vehicles on the Jekyll Island Causeway. The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), North America’s only estuarine turtle species, inhabits the brackish waters of coastal salt marshes. Terrapins range from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, with the species currently listed in Georgia as a “Species of Concern.”
Diamondback Terrapin Conservation
The diamondback terrapin is a species of turtle that lives in the marshes surrounding Jekyll Island. This unique species has long been a part of the natural and cultural history of the region, but is now threatened by human activities in the marsh. Each summer, dozens of female terrapins are hit by vehicles on the Jekyll Island Causeway as they cross the road in search of good nesting habitat. Most of these injured turtles do not survive, and if this high road mortality continues, the local terrapin population may decline to a dangerously low size.
The GSTC and its conservation partners utilize many strategies to help protect Jekyll terrapins.