The sighting of a red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys rubiventris),a threatened species in Pennsylvania, has been confirmed since swimming past the fish ladder viewing window.
Red-bellied turtles are of special concern because the species may become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout their range in Pennsylvania. Digital video images from the monitoring system were sent to PA Fish and Boat Commission biologists for positive taxonomic identification and due to various morphological characteristics, the biologists determined that this red-bellied turtle is most likely a male.
The limited habitat required by red-bellied turtles is under threat from industrial uses, the demand for property in a heavily urbanized area of the state, drainage or filing of wetlands and pollution. This is another positive sign of the improving Schuylkill River and importance of a functioning the fish ladder.