Intercounty Connector (ICC) Endangers Eastern Box Turtles
Construction of the Intercounty Connector (ICC) highway is negatively affecting species across the board, including Eastern Box Turtles. Many of these turtles have been hit by cars or construction equipment. The ICC is only exacerbating the likelihood of the Eastern Box Turtles becoming extinct. While animals such as deer and foxes are able to flee the construction sites the eastern box turtle does not have the ability to do so.
Sandy Barnett, a herpetologist, has taken the time to nurse 60 turtles injured by ICC construction in the last two years. She has spent $5,000 for turtle care and medical expenses last year. She retired from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, but now spends at least 30 hours each week caring to the turtles. “I find them to be charming animals,” said Barnett, who, like a dozen other turtle enthusiasts, volunteers her time.
There have been many other projects and initiatives to protect the eastern box turtles. Although 900 turtles have been relocated from the path of ICC construction, it is difficult to tell if they will have the ability to quickly adapt to a different environment.
In order to save species and their habitat we cannot continute to rely on construction of highways. Not only will highways cause further buildup of congestion, traffic, and sprawl, they also lead to an increase in CO2 emissions. Maryland politicians must step up and lead the country in the movement towards public transportation and sustainable development.