NYTTS Logo Prospect Lake Fish and Turtle Rescue

In mid-November 2009, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation drained a section of the northeast end of Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn to allow for the planned restoration of the shore over the winter. A cofferdam was built and as the water in the dammed section was pumped out, the Natural Resources Crew undertook a fish and turtle rescue project, netting and measuring them before releasing them into the lake on the other side of the dam.

Photos by Jessica M. DiCicco, Science Coordinator, Natural Resources Crew, Prospect Park Alliance

(Hold mouse over photo to pause slide changes.)
NYTTS volunteers stood by, waiting for turtles...

During the final draining (November 18–20), NYTTS volunteers Lesley Brunelle, Abby and Lorri Cramer, Jack Gambino, John McQuillan, and Jim Van Abbema stood by and waited for turtles. Some of us even donned waders and ventured into the mud! In a very small section drained two weeks earlier before NYTTS was on hand, a map turtle (pictured in the slide show left) had been found and released. It was later identified as a Texas map turtle (this little guy was a long way from home!).

Several species of fish were rescued, measured, and released—including large-mouth bass, perch, sunfish, bluegills, and an occasional catfish. Alas, our waiting and watching turned up no more turtles, but would we do it again, even if no turtles were found? I think we’d all say yes—great weather (except for some rain on Thursday) and the great company of an enthusiastic Natural Resources Crew made the adventure more than worthwhile!

Poaching Turtles in Prospect Park

Pictured left is Brooklyn resident Anne-Katrin Titze with turtle she and fellow parkgoer Ed Bahlman rescued from a trap in Prospect Lake. They discovered the shocking trap in the water while cleaning the area around the nest of one of their beloved swans. She writes:

We rescued this turtle on Friday in Prospect Park. It was placed in a makeshift holding pen at the Terrace Bridge. It was wet with duckweed. The fishermen have told us that poaching of turtles and fish is going on. The licensed fishermen would like to see enforcement of the rules in Prospect Park.

See Animal attraction! Now someone is trying to poach turtles in Prospect Park, The Brooklyn Paper, May 28, 2010.