Why are turtles dying at Manito Park duck pond


SPOKANE, Wash. -Swimming around in the murky waters of the duck pond in Manito Park are ducks, geese, and of course turtles. Ask Duane Coulter who visits Manito frequently "I came here with my grandson walking. He is fascinated with turtles and low and behold a little 3-year-old manages to find a bunch of dead turtles around the edge of the pond," said Coulter who has lived in Spokane for the last ten years.

The sight of the dead turtles had Duane thinking. What could he do to save the turtles? In the past week, Duane has seen seven dead turtles but more importantly what could be killing them? Coulter has theories "I am just concerned that the water quality. There's something out of whack with the water apparently. That's not new news to anyone."

We wanted to see just how murky the water is, we dumped a Go-Pro into the pond, and the water is as green as a morning kale smoothie. According to the city, there is close to two feet of sediment resting down on the bottom. One of the ways to clear the pond is to drain it entirely and dredge out all of the years of sediment out another is to put an irrigation system in the pond. 

But it could be more than just the water preying on the turtles. Perched up in a tree across the pond is an osprey. Picking out fish from the water. An osprey's diet is 99 percent fish, but sometimes it likes to prey on the slow and vulnerable like turtles when fish are scarce. KHQ spoke with the city about the water quality of the pond, and they say they're looking into it "Right now we have a multi-departmental collaboration going on to see what can be done about it," said City of Spokane Horticulture Supervisor Steve Nittolo

But when it comes to the deaths of these turtles, even Steve is baffled " I don't know. We have had you know dead turtles turn up in the past. I don’t know what’s causing this. It could be anything from weather-related, to vandalism, to disease to water quality. I don’t know to give you the short answer," said Nittolo.

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