Rosi Dagit, senior conservation biologist for the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, and longtime Western pond turtle advocate, has a message for TNT’s readers:

The drought and extreme heat have been hard on many of us in Topanga, and the critters of the canyon are no exception. The Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM) is asking us to help save one of the last remaining reproducing populations of southwestern pond turtles in the Santa Monica Mountains. These turtles require ponds for food and safety, so when their ponds and pools go dry, they go hungry and are easy prey for predators such as ravens, raccoons, and dogs. RCDSMM needs our help to provide water for these turtles and help ensure their survival. 

With so little rain this year, the last refugia turtle pools were going dry, so in September of this year, RCDSMM, with the help of donations from Manzanita School and other Topangans, deployed twenty 100-foot-long hoses, and carried them up a steep ravine to get water to the last refugia pools left supporting native pond turtles. 

Five turtle hatchlings, several juveniles and small adults immediately took advantage of the improved habitat! Now, RCDSMM is seeking $11,000 in order to purchase materials (pipes, valves, gauges, water, etc.) to set up a more permanent solution to fill the pools as needed if rain fails to come this winter. If you are able to help, please donate to the RCDSMM Turtles at www.rcdsmm.org.