Finding Frogs and Salamanders: Amphibian Monitoring 2017

Northwestern Salamander egg mass

January 21st kicked off our 2017 Amphibian Monitoring trainings in partnership with Metro, Clean Water Services and Tualatin Hills Parks & Rec. Over the next two months, citizen science volunteers will be looking for Northern red-legged Frog, Northwestern salamander, Pacific chorus frog and long-toed salamander egg masses in their local wetlands.

Presence of amphibians in our wetland preserves can tell us a lot about water quality and wetland health. Amphibians need clean water to survive. In addition to good water quality, amphibians need particular habitat features to survive throughout the year.  For example, red-legged frogs love to spend most of their lives in dense forests, while some amphibians seek shelter under fallen logs, and spend most of their lives within 3 meters of the same log.

Thirty-five volunteers attended the first training, learning where to find egg masses, how to identify them and how to accurately record the data. Finding these egg masses takes a keen eye, identifying the egg masses takes some expert knowledge and most importantly recording the data with accuracy takes some patience.  After this first training volunteers will join an expert in the field to do a trial run, practicing the monitoring method. Then these newly trained community scientists take their knowledge to the field in search egg masses.

This year seven TWC wetlands will be monitored. Volunteers generally monitor sites close to their homes, or places that they visit frequently.  Some of the wetlands host great amphibian populations and others may have very few or none. We use the monitoring data to guide our management and restoration activities. We are excited to see how year 3 results compare with the past two years and if any of the site improvements have resulted in increased amphibian presence.

If you are interested in joining this year’s cohort of community scientist, we still have one training left on February 4th!  Help us learn more about local amphibians and their habitat requirements. Please contact Megan Garvey for more details, megangarvey@wetlandsconservancy.org


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