TRR photos by Sandy Long

Learn more about wood frogs and other amphibians at Lacawac Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA, during Vernal Visitation on April 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. East Stroudsburg University professor Dr. Thomas LaDuke will probe the waters of the sanctuary for amphibians. Also, In Search of Spring Migrants is scheduled for April 28 from 8 to 10 a.m., during which experts from the Northeast PA Audubon Society hike through the sanctuary seeking spring migrants. Call 570/689-9494 or email info@lacawac.org for more information. At the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA, explore breeding pools during Salamanders, Frogs and More, slated for April 8 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon; or look for tiny tree frogs during the Spring Peeper Search on April 21 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Assisting amphibians

After seeming like it might never arrive in the Upper Delaware River region, spring has finally sprung. While walking in a forested area in Pike County, PA last week, I heard the unmistakable “quacking” calls of wood frogs emanating from a vernal pool. Soon these will be followed by the riotous “eeps” of spring peepers. And although silent, salamanders are on the move, too, as the annual migration of breeding amphibians is underway.

In Pennsylvania, the National Park Service closes River Road in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area periodically on rainy nights from March to mid-April to protect amphibians as they make their way to breeding pools at great risk of being crushed by vehicles.

Road closures are triggered by weather forecasts calling for evening rain and mild temperatures in the 50s. (For information on closures, call 570/426-2452; visit www.nps.gov/dewa; or follow along on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS).

In New York State, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has also alerted the public to the hazards encountered by amphibians in their quest for the perfect partner. The state’s Wildlife Action Plan identifies road mortality as a significant threat to frogs, toads and salamanders.

Community volunteers document their observations as part of DEC’s Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project, identifying locations where migrations cross roads, recording weather and traffic conditions and counting amphibians on the go. The volunteers also carefully help them to safely cross roads. (Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHRbsAsnQi8 or contact woodlandpool@dec.ny.gov to learn more).

Amphibians emerge after nightfall and are slow moving. Drivers in both states are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season to minimize mortality.

 

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