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Amphibian escorts needed in Salisbury

THE ANNUAL AMPHIBIAN migration from high ground to wetlands is happening soon. Help them get there safely by signing up with Otter Creek Audubon and the Salisbury Conservation Commission for a night of helping them cross the road in Salisbury. 
Photo by C. Slesar

SALISBURY — 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. 

The Otter Creek Audubon Society and the Salisbury Conservation Commission will monitor an amphibian crossing site in Salisbury again this year. You 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 we happen to get a “Big Night”, we could move more than a thousand amphibians in a two-hour period. The site affords all who participate an opportunity to experience this remarkable natural phenomenon first-hand.

You can participate by signing up for the 2024 amphibian email alerts. We will choose two nights from mid-March through mid-April that have suitable weather conditions predicted. You’ll receive an email at about 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, OCAS and the Salisbury Conservation Commission will provide identification tips and a reminder of appropriate behavior. With your help we’ll record the numbers of each species we move for two hours. Sign up at [email protected], even if you were on the list in a previous year.

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