Alligator Snapping Turtle
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is currently evaluating the Alligator
Snapping Turtle for federal endangered species act protections. Currently,
these turtles are considered threatened by TPWD and, as such, are afforded protections in Texas.
In March of 2021, the Trinity River Authority began a public outreach and education project, in cooperation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) state herpetologist, designed to educate citizens in the Lake Livingston watershed about the state protected status of the Alligator Snapping Turtle. Signage was installed near boat ramps that included educational text, photos, and a phone number to report sightings. TRA will re-evaluate this program in September 2021, and, if successful, will expand the signage footprint throughout the Trinity River basin.
For more information on this majestic species of turtle, please visit:
Western Chicken Turtle
The Western Chicken Turtle is a relatively small turtle that is found in semi-aquatic areas with shallow, slow-moving water. These turtles are difficult to find because they spend a significant portion of the year on land and they normally burrow into the soil and go dormant for much of the hot, dry months.
University of Houston Clear Lake (UHCL) is currently working under a contract with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (TCPA), combining novel and traditional survey methods to find these species and better understand their habitat associations. This work is scheduled to end in 2023, one year before the USFWS plans to begin a study to determine if this species warrants federal ESA protections. UHCL needs your help to improve their research. The link below will take you to the program page, which includes the Western Chicken Reporting Tool, for citizens to report turtle sightings.
For additional information, please visit the TCPA’s Natural Resources Program webpage at https://comptroller.texas.gov/programs/natural-resources/research/ongoing-studies/wct/.