Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Be on the Lookout for Amphibians Crossing the Road

wood frogWith the arrival of spring temperatures, amphibians have begun their annual migrations to woodland pools to breed. Often, they must cross roads to reach these pools. In New York, this migration usually occurs on rainy nights in late March and early April, when the night air temperature is above 40F. When these conditions exist there can be explosive, “big night” migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move. Volunteers can help document these locations and help amphibians like wood frogs, spotted salamanders, American toads, or spring peepers safely cross the road. Drivers on New York roads are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season. Amphibians come out after nightfall and are slow-moving; mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads.

Photo of wood frog by Laura Heady.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

4 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Is there a reason this initiative is only in the Hudson Valley?? WE may not have as many amphibians up here in the Great White North, but as climate warms, hopefully we will have more. We should certainly look at stabilizing amphibian and reptilian populations wherever possible.

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    It’s called vision what you propose Boreas……a thing that is not much put into use when it comes to policy regards environmental laws, if it is even a light at the end of the tunnel of those who do the thinking on these matters. Attach a monetary note to it however and the lights begin to flicker!

    “Drivers on New York roads are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season.”

    >That’s like saying, “proceed at your own discretion.”


    • Boreas says:

      I am trying to get something going with Paul Smith’s to come up with an initiative up here to monitor populations and perhaps try some localized Safe Crossing volunteers on nights that migration is sure to happen. I live close to Wickham Marsh which still has some amphibians and reptiles left. I would like to minimize the slaughter along a 1/4 mile length of road there. The road can easily be circumvented during those precious nights of the year wet enough for them to migrate.

      I would also like to see local news stations put out “Migration Alerts” for those dark, moonless, foggy nights to avoid wetland roads. Creatures that aren’t warm, cute, and fuzzy get short shrift, if that is the right term.

      • Charlie Stehlin says:

        Very noble of you Boreas and good luck. New Hampshire has programs. as well as Vermont and other places up here in the northeast. It is so nice to know there are people who go lengths to protect these most precious of species.

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