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Amphibian crossing volunteers sought

FROGS AND SALAMANDERS cross roads in specific areas every spring.  Photo/Luke Groff, Vermont Fish & Wildlife 

SALISBURY — Otter Creek Audubon and the Salisbury Conservation Commission are monitoring an amphibian crossing site in Salisbury again this year. On warm, wet nights in March and April frogs and salamanders move from their wintering sites on high ground to breeding sites in wetlands to mate and lay eggs. Their route to the nearest vernal pool sometimes takes them across a road.

Volunteers can help, too! Across Vermont, groups of concerned individuals attempt to alter amphibians’ lethal odds by moving them off the road during nights of significant movement. At the most dangerous crossings amphibians may suffer 50 percent mortality, but the crossing we monitor has little traffic. This Salisbury site retains not only large numbers of amphibians but also remarkable species diversity: four salamander and three frog species. If there is a “Big Night,” more than a thousand amphibians could be move in a two-hour period. The site affords all who participate an opportunity to experience this remarkable natural phenomenon first-hand.

Sign up for the 2023 amphibian email alert. Organizers will choose two nights in March or April that have suitable weather conditions predicted. Participants will get an email at 8 a.m. saying that amphibian movement is likely, and a confirming email at about 6 p.m. Movement starts around 8:15 p.m. and can run for several hours.

Volunteers may arrive and leave when they wish and are responsible for their own safety and the safety of others in their group. Upon arrival, Jim Andrews, his assistant Kate Kelly and OCAS will provide species identification tips and a reminder of appropriate behavior.

With help organizers will record the numbers of each species moved for two hours. Sign up at [email protected], even if you were on the list in a previous year.

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