A project to improve a stormwater management pond in Cabin John Stream Valley Park this spring meant moving some of the pond’s longtime residents.

The city enlisted help from the Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society to relocate about 70 turtles to a new home at the recently constructed stormwater management pond at Horizon Hill Park.

MATTS volunteers used floating basking traps, hands and dip nets to capture as many turtles as possible in late May, just before the pond was drained for construction. The turtles were placed in plastic bins and transported by volunteers to their new home. Volunteers took steps to disinfect equipment and footwear so as not to transport any disease-causing viruses or other organisms to the new pond.

The city’s partnership with MATTS is winning kudos from the community.

Judy Flax, a Horizon Hill resident, wrote to the city to express her gratitude. “At this time in our society, it is encouraging and uplifting to my soul to see our local government having a heart,” she wrote. “Thank you.”

This is the second time MATTS has helped protect Rockville’s reptilian residents. In fall 2016, volunteers searched Watkins Pond in King Farm for turtles and the city posted temporary “Turtle Crossing” signs and placed filter logs against the curb to help turtles climb up and out of the roadway. For photos and more information about that project, visit RockvilleReports.com and search “turtles.”

The Hungerford-Stoneridge Stormwater Management Facility retrofit project at Cabin John Stream Valley Park includes dredging and deepening the pond to enhance water treatment, and planting native and marsh plants, shrubs and 29 trees. Learn more about the improvements at www.rockvillemd.gov/hungerfordstoneridgeproject.