The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and New Jersey Audubon have teamed up on a special project to save the bog turtle – New Jersey’s official state reptile. Deputy Commissioner Debbie Mans participated in announcing the collaborative effort and enjoyed an up-close encounter with one of the tiny turtles. Once abundant in New Jersey but now endangered, the turtles live in freshwater wetlands only in Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon and Salem counties. The project aims to restore and connect 50 acres of wetlands and upland turtle habitat in the Upper Salem River Watershed, starting with one site in Salem County, where at least 10 of the turtles live. A radio transmitter attached to the shell enables zoologists to track the turtle’s activities through mud and mucky areas. State officials are hopeful that recreating the proper environment at the Salem site could help the population grow to 20 or 30 turtles. Read all about it here. Our thanks to NJ Audubon Communications Director Chris Neff for sharing some of his images.