MARGATE – The Margate Terrapin Rescue Project will be holding its 10th annual Roadside Barrier Installation/Repair Day 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 4 on the Margate causeway, known as the Downbeach Express.

To ensure the best protection for the diamondback terrapins that crawl out of the bay to higher ground where they lay their eggs in spring and early summer, the rescue project has installed corrugated roadside barriers to prevent them from getting onto the roadway surface where they will surely be killed by passing vehicles.

Annual maintenance on the barriers and installation of new barriers will be performed along with a marsh cleanup to ensure a healthy habitat for the terrapins.

Volunteers are needed to dig trenches, secure barriers, and install fencing along the guardrails along the 2-mile stretch of roadway between Northfield and Margate.

Children over age 8 are welcome as there are tasks that are appropriate for all ages.  Groups will be assigned to different sections of the causeway and a leader will be there to assist with the tasks at hand.

Steve Jasiecki/Female terrapins trying to find higher ground to lay their eggs often find themselve on the causeway.

All participants must sign an online waiver before volunteering at

  • Volunteers are advised to:
    Wear bright clothing, long sleeves, long pants, old shoes and gloves.
    Bring bug spray
    Bring tools, including shovels, trench shovels, wire cutters, rakes, cordless drills with a Phillips drill bit, mallet/hammer. Make sure you put your name and phone number on all tools you bring.

Volunteers will meet at the Downbeach Express Maintenance Yard right before the toll bridge on the Margate Causeway. Park on the gravel parking lot. Vehicles are required to access work areas along the route. Walking along the roadway is not permitted. The Margate Bridge Company that operates the Downbeach Express will be on hand to provide security.

Drinks and light snacks will be available.

Lisa and Don Doherty, who had recently moved to Margate, started the Margate Terrapin Rescue Project in 2007 after becoming alarmed about the number of terrapins being killed on the causeway. Their grassroots effort to install tubing and fencing, conduct periodic patrols and work with the community on an educational campaign has greatly reduced vehicular mortality of the terrapins.

For more information or to register for the event, see

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Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.