Frogging season 2012 – things are hopping!

Our Amphibian Monitoring Project is in full swing for the 2012 season. Here are a few highlights and photos with a link to a photo gallery.

A Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) in a breeding pond near Merritt, Spring 2012. Photo © Lennart Sopuck

PCAF grant renewed

For the second year the Nicola Naturalists received a grant from the Public Conservation Assistance Fund to support our volunteer activities in amphibian monitoring. The grant of $3350 covers mostly field equipment and supplies, with some support for volunteer activities.

New kayaks for frogging

Part of the PCAF budget was to purchase two kayaks, essential for getting around the shallow ponds and small lakes that we search and monitor during the amphibian breeding season. We bought two small but maneuverable and tough plastic kayaks and the associated safety equipment. The society has drafted guidelines and safety protocols on the use of these kayaks for approved activities – this form can be downloaded by clicking here: NNS Protocol for Use of Boats.

Amphibian project volunteer coordinator Andrea Lawrence tries out one of the NNS’s new kayaks purchased for checking ponds and small lakes for amphibians. Photo: Gale Simpson

 Biolinx herpetologists work with NNS volunteers

Biolinx Environmental Research Ltd. from Victoria are our partners in the Amphibian Monitoring Project. Biolinx biologists Dr. Kristiina Ovaska, Lennart Sopuck and Christian Engelstoft have made three visits to the Merritt/Nicola area this spring. Monitoring the threatened Great Basin Spadefoot is one of their priorities and several NNS volunteers have accompanied them to the grassland areas to do night-time call surveys and help with marking a sample of these unique frogs for long-term population studies.

A Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana) in a grassland pond. Although quite common in some grasslands areas near Merritt, this species has a very limited distribution in Canada and is listed as Threatened. Photo: © Christian Engelstoft

Working with local First Nations

This spring we joined the Esh-kn-am Cultural Resources Management Services (a group supported by four local First Nations bands) to survey amphibians on the Coldwater Reserve. Biologists and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology trainees with Esh-kn-am spent two days working alongside Biolinx herpetologists and NNS volunteers in several wetlands. We hope to continue this collaboration in future years.

Staff from the Esh-kn-am Cultural Resources Management Services and a NNS volunteer searching a pond on the Paul’s Basin First Nations reserve. Photo © Kristiina Ovaska.

More to see – frogging photos from 2012

Nicola Naturalist Society volunteers check out  Western Toad tadpoles at Glimpse Lake near Merritt.  Photos: © Lennart Sopuck

Nicola Naturalist Society volunteers checking Western Toad tadpoles at Glimpse Lake near Merritt. Photo © Lennart Sopuck.

Click on this link to see a gallery of frogging photos from the spring 2012: Frogging Photos 2012

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