Photo: Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons

Turtle crossing signs coming to Long Island roads

Drivers on Long Island may notice a few new warning signs about wildlife.

The new signs, which are meant to alert drivers to turtles crossing the road, are being deployed along roadways in the towns of Southold, Riverhead, Brookhaven, Southampton and Babylon where local turtle populations are particularly at risk of suffering motor vehicle-related casualties.

Turtle Crossing Sign
Photo: Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons

The signs were conceived and produced following a Nov. 2023 meeting between Andy Sabin, who is one of the founders of the South Fork History Museum, Karen Testa, president of Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons, and the highway superintendents from each of the five towns.

Testa is a turtle surgeon and passionate advocate who, through her nonprofit, has spent the last 12 years collecting data in order to form a list of local roads with the highest turtle mortality rate.

“Turtles are down on the ground, and people in cars are texting, so they’re not always looking. It’s getting worse because with habitat destruction, there’s nowhere for turtles to go,” explained Testa via written statement. “I’m so happy that the towns understand the importance of turtles to the ecosystem.”

The highway superintendents were each given 20 signs, produced for free by Ron Fisher Signs in Southampton, for placement at locations deemed problematic for turtles. Some areas have already posted the  turtle crossing signs, including roadways in Manorville near Swan Lake where turtles are active.

“A lot of people come out from the city and they’re not aware that turtles are crossing the road. Now when they see our turtle signs, they’ll look for them… We’re trying to save all turtles,” Sabin said in the statement.

The officials are optimistic about the impact of the new signs.

“We hope in general that the signs help people think about the things that are not expected on our roads, whether it’s deer, a domestic animal or a turtle,” Southold Town Highway Superintendent Dan Goodwin said in the statement.

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