Phase 2 Turtle Surveys



A Phase 2 Bog Turtle Survey is the process by which biologists physically search wetlands for bog turtles. Phase 2 surveys must be led by a qualified bog turtle surveyor, a recognition by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and PA Fish & Boat Commission of herpetologists experienced in working with bog turtles. These surveys follow federal and state agency protocols pertaining to search effort, timing between visits and appropriate weather conditions. Phase 2 surveys may only be conducted between April 15th and June 15th, with at least half of the work during May.

The most common result of Phase 2 surveys is an absence of bog turtles. Occasionally, a bog turtle is found on a project site. If this would occur, Aqua-Terra can suggest methods to avoid impacts and begin the regulatory process. The presence of bog turtles can substantially change construction projects and detailed evaluations of the bog turtle population and hydrological characteristics of the wetland may be necessary. Therefore, bog turtle studies should be initiated during the conceptual planning phase of a project. A Scientific Collector's Permit from the PFBC is required to search for bog turtles.

Field Risks

Several field risks are inherent while conducting Phase 2 surveys.


Poison sumac (Toxicondendron vernix) is capable of causing severe contact dermatitis "Tunneling" for bog turtles can lead to punctures


Snapping turtles are common in wetlands. With very strong jaws, a large individual could inflict a serious bite. Snapping turtles also have strong legs with sharp claws. A careless surveyor handling a large turtle could be badly scratched.


Pollen, in this case cattail pollen, can be overwhelming in some wetlands An allergy to pollen and dirty hands from "tunneling" for bog turtles can lead to a severe case of conjunctivitis.