Ojibway Prairie Reptile Recovery
Some of the highlights of the OPRREC program include:
- Investment of over 1000 person–hours in the field annually in order to monitor reptile populations, assess threats and increase surveillance of key habitat features.
- Submission of over 200 Species at Risk observations each year to provincial databases, therefore increasing habitat protection.
- Surveying of over 1000 km of roads annually to document road mortality hotspots and guide mitigation projects. We installed over 375m of barrier fencing in 2016 and 2017 in order to prevent reptile road mortality.
- Enhancement of over 9ha of Massasauga habitat via removal of invasive plants and creation of over 100 woody debris structures for Massasauga shelter and gestation (birthing). We confirmed that pregnant female Massasaugas used the artificial gestation sites we created in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Delivery of over 340 Massasauga stewardship packages to nearby residents and reaching an additional 200 people per year via public outreach efforts. With the help of our partners, we installed 6 Massasauga habitat signs, 1 interpretive panel, and 8 wildlife crossing signs at roadkill hotspots.
Jonathan Choquette leads the Ojibway Prairie Reptile Recovery Program. Jonathan has over ten years of academic, volunteer and professional experience working with reptiles and amphibians. He earned a B.Sc. in Biology (2007) and a Master’s in Landscape Architecture (2011), both from the University of Guelph. His MLA thesis focused on identifying habitat corridors for Massasauga rattlesnakes in a fragmented, urban landscape. Jonathan has worked with several species at ‘at risk’ reptiles, including Butler’s gartersnakes, eastern foxsnakes, five-lined skinks, Lake Erie watersnakes, prairie rattlesnakes, spotted turtles, wood turtles, and queen snakes. He has worked for organizations ranging from COSEWIC, Huron Stewardship Council, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. He served as a volunteer board member for the Canadian Herpetological Society from 2014 – 2017 and is a member of the Society for Conservation Biology. A list of his publications and reports can be found here.
How you can help: