BiodiverseCity St. Louis

BiodiverseCity St. Louis is a growing network of organizations and individuals throughout the greater St. Louis region who share a stake in improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more about this effort, and join in.

Take Action Today…and Make It Count

Throughout St. Louis, every day, people are making big and small changes to their backyards, balconies, streetscapes, schoolyards, parking lots, and play areas. Some are doing this because they love nature and want to experience more of it in their daily lives. Others recognize that native plants in the right places help prevent flooding, clean and cool our air and improve human health and well-being. Still others embrace the positive impact that leafy streets, accessible parks, hiking/biking trails and other quality green spaces have on property values and the economic vibrancy of our region.

For all these reasons and more, the BiodiverseCitySTL Network invites each of the 2.9 million citizens of the greater St. Louis bi-state region to take action. In this spirit, we are excited to launch the Nature in Our Neighborhoods citizen action project. No matter who you are or where you live, all of us can do something to beautify, bio-diversify and better the communities in which we live, work, learn and play. To get started, check out our curated list of expert ideas and local resources from across our region, connect with others and share your stories.


Species Spotlight

Alligator snapping turtleAlligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii). Photo: Gary M. Stolz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
In our region’s riverine habitats, including deep sloughs, oxbow lakes, and deep pools within large streams and rivers, the elusive alligator snapping turtle may be hiding in root snags and among submerged logs. Unique among North American turtles for its ability to lure fish to its mouth with a special appendage shaped like a juicy worm, M. temminckii is often associated with, but not closely related to, the common snapping turtle (genus Chelydra) we are more likely to encounter in our local landscapes.

Early in the 20th century, alligator snapping turtles were abundant in U.S. river systems draining into the Gulf of Mexico, from the waterways and lakes of the upper Midwest to the swamps and bayous of Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Recent population surveys show the turtles are now likely extirpated throughout much of its historic range, with declines of up to 95 percent due to overharvesting and unchecked habitat degradation and fragmentation. Listed as vulnerable on IUCN’s Red List and considered imperiled in Missouri and Illinois, the alligator snapping turtle is one of 10 species the Center for Biological Diversity is prioritizing in 2016 to secure protection for under the Endangered Species Act. 

Fun fact: Known as the dinosaur of the turtle world because of their spiky scales, immensely powerful jaws, clever hunting skills, and primitive looking faces, M. temminckii is among the largest species of freshwater turtle, weighing up to 150 pounds. For an up-close look at both an alligator snapping turtle and common snapping turtle, head to Powder Valley Nature Center, and check out their lobby aquarium.

To do: This time of year, many species of turtle are on the move in our region, sometimes crossing busy roadways. Add to your biodiversity superhero skill set by watching this quick tutorial on how best to safely step in and help.


Let's Map It!

Interactive map screenshotThis month’s Species Spotlight has us in a reptilian state of mind. Specifically, it has us wanting to learn more about what we can do to help our local reptile and amphibian species catch a break. In that spirit, we wanted to share this super-cool, interactive, state-by-state map showing where you can find 52 species that are currently the focus of conservation efforts across our great nation. (Note: the map works best using Internet Explorer or Safari.)

Curious to learn more? Visit our friends at the Saint Louis Zoo to experience diversity of reptiles and amphibians from around the world.

Inspired to act? Protect wetlands in your community, essential habitats for the survival of turtles and a diversity of other species. We recommend learning about (and better yet, visiting) the Shaw Nature Reserve wetland mitigation bank—among the local strategies at work for biodiversity conservation.


Featured Partner Programs

Milkweeds for Monarchs logo   Bring Conservation Home logo   Operation Clean Stream logo   Show Me Rain Gardens logo