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Spring Peeper, Green Frog, and Wood Frog Management at Neithercut Woodland Clay Wilton, Randi Brown, Traci Goldsworthy.

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Presentation on theme: "Spring Peeper, Green Frog, and Wood Frog Management at Neithercut Woodland Clay Wilton, Randi Brown, Traci Goldsworthy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spring Peeper, Green Frog, and Wood Frog Management at Neithercut Woodland Clay Wilton, Randi Brown, Traci Goldsworthy

2 Area of Concern  Neithercut Woodland in Clare County  Owned and maintained by Central Michigan University  Currently encompasses 252 acres of diverse habitats  Originally owned by Josiah L. Littlefield in the early 1900’s  A variety of vegetation, soil, and animals occupy this property

3 Spring Peeper – Pseudacris crucifer Family: Hylidae Distinguishing Characteristics –Characterized by a distinct brown “X” pattern on a light brown or tan body –~ 3.5 cm long –Voice reminiscent of a clear, high-pitched rising “peep” sounded about once per second –Males are slightly smaller than females and have darker throats Nocturnal Hide in leaf litter, but are also good climbers

4 Breeding Behavior One of the first frogs to be heard in spring –Choruses can be heard from late March or early April through May Sexual maturity is typically reached around two years of age (Trenham et al. 2003) Use ephemeral or permanent wetlands Females lay between 750 – 1,200 eggs –deposited individually –attached to sticks and aquatic vegetation –eggs typically hatch within several days after being laid Larvae metamorphose in approximately two to three months and leave the pond for the adult stage of their life cycle.

5 Habitat and Food Michigan’s most abundant singing frog Found throughout the state –Inhabits deciduous and mixed woodlands, swamps, and marshes Burrow in the soil and use fallen trees and logs for cover Persist at higher elevations, less acidic soils, less evergreen forest, less cultivated land, and less open water (Gibbs et al. 2005). Hibernate under logs and loose bark Adult prey includes small insects – spiders, ants, water bugs Tadpoles feed on algae and detritus

6 Range Spring peepers are believed to be one of the initial herpetological colonizers of eastern North America following the latest period of glaciation (Austin et al. 2002). Found throughout the majority of eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to eastern Manitoba, and south to Texas and the Carolinas. Relatively common species throughout the Great Lakes

7 Wood Frog - Rana sylvatica Family: Ranidae  Appearance:  Rusty brown and tan  Yellow to light green under parts  Black striped patch “mask”  White stripe on upper lip  Dark spots on each side of chest by the foreleg  Average size 3.5 to 8 cm  Females  much larger than males  more brightly colored  

8 Wood Frog Reproduction  Breeding occurs very early in spring, often when ice is still on ponds.  Most active during warmer, damp evenings after the first spring rain in temporary ponds  Males attracted to larger females just as females attracted to larger males  Male calls - quack like projection  vlf4sdLmY vlf4sdLmY  Eggs deposited in floating rounded communal masses on water surface  Breeding frogs only remain in the pond for 1-2 days  

9 Larva and Juveniles  Larva  Emerge from eggs in 1-2 weeks  If area dries too quickly, survival is often lost  Brown to gray dorsal side, brown to copper sides, and light ventrally  Feed on algae, plant tissue, small aquatic organisms, and organic matter  Juveniles  Feed on a variety of insects & small invertebrates such as spiders, slugs, and snails  Sexual maturation generally 1-2 years 

10 Habitat of Wood Frog  Wood frog prefers:  Wet woodlands  Wooded swamps  Bogs  Can be found wondering into fields  Tend to stay in same 100 sq meters throughout lifetime, staying in same pond or wetland area especially after breeding first occurs  By late fall typically travel upland for winter  Hide in or under logs, leaf litter, and humus. 

11 Range of the Wood Frog  North of Arctic Circle in Alaska, across Canada, & through NE U. S.  Some in northern Georgia & central Alabama  Spotty distribution in Colorado & Rocky Mountains  Considered only frogs to be found north of Arctic Circle  Survive freezing 45% body in the winter  Specialized proteins & glucose prevent intercellular freezing and dehydration

12 Green Frog – Rana clamitans Family: Ranidae  There are several color variations of the green frog:  green, yellowish green, olive, or brown, and in some rare instances they can be blue  Male and females also differ:  Males: Very bright yellow throat and tympanum larger than eye  Females: white, light yellow, or cream colored throat, mottled gray and black, tympanum smaller than eye  Other distinguishing characteristics:  Dark cross bands on hind legs  Ridge of skin from each eye curving behind tympanum and extending one-half to two-thirds of the way down their back

13 R. clamitans Hibernation & Reproduction  Start to emerge from hibernation during the end of March thru April  Breeding begins in May thru early August  Females produce 1-2 clutches each year  1,000 – 4,000 eggs per clutch  Reproduction occurs in shallow backwaters  Male breeding call commonly heard during spring:  A brief “clung” reminiscent of a loose banjo string  Will be given singly or several times in a row  A low growl connected to territoriality   Begin to enter hibernation again toward the end of October thru mid- November

14 Green Frog Habitat  Green frogs are found in very diverse bodies of water:  Habitat generalists  Ponds, lakes, swamps, sloughs, impoundments, and slow streams  Adults prefer deeper pools with less vegetation, and migrate beyond banks at night to forage  Subadults prefer shallower pools with dense vegetation, and forage on nearby banks  Dependent also on terrestrial habitat:  Predation  Sit-and-wait predators Blue version of a male green frog

15 Range of the Green Frog  Can be found in Maine and the Canadian Maritime provinces west throughout the Great Lakes region to western Ontario, south to Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, and east through Tennessee and northern Georgia to coastal North Carolina and northward (Harding 1997).

16 Management Considerations Three critical factors for wetland-breeding frogs: 1.density of individuals that are dispersing from each wetland 2.species richness dependent on diversity of wetlands 3.probability of dispersal or re-colonization to adjacent wetlands Wetland factors:  size, pond isolation, pond hydroperiod, timing of wetland drawdown, and individual life-history requirements (Paton and Crouch 2002) are imperative for wetland-breeding frog management.

17 Management Considerations Invasive Species  Predatory fish – consume both larvae and adult frogs  Bull frogs – risk of competition and predation on all life stages  Invasive Plants – out compete native vegetation creating dense monocultures  Typha spp. and Phragmites spp.

18 Management Considerations Environmental contaminants and toxicants:  Using herbicides to kill invasive plants could possibly have adverse effects on local amphibian populations.  In a lab study on juvenile amphibians, Roundup killed 68-86% of individuals after one day (Relyea 2005).  In natural systems??  Exposure to pesticides could directly reduce the abundance of prey species. Community impacts of herbicides and pesticides make consistent monitoring of water quality and invertebrate community composition a crucial consideration for the successful management of anurans in Neithercut.

19 Management Considerations Habitat Structure: Population Disappearance:  urban development  high intensity agriculture  acid deposition Population Persistence:  deciduous/mixed forest  less evergreen forest  less open water Population Fluxes: High local extinction rates:  require re-colonization from surrounding populations  need greater densities of nearby wetlands  consideration of landscape connectivity between wetlands and adjacent land is imperative

20 Management Goals and Objectives:  Create & maintain wetland habitat  Create corridors connecting hospitable wetland habitats.  Maintain critical breeding habitat for the wood frog  creating and conserving vernal pools  Monitor hydroperiods for reproductive success for both the spring peeper and green frog  Implement management of suitable habitat on a large spatial scale to sustain dispersal and re-colonization from local subpopulations 

21 Management Goals and Objectives:  Control chemical pollution  Eliminate application of herbicides and pesticides  Monitor native & non-native species  Bi-yearly monitoring of terrestrial/aquatic wetland and stream macroinvertebrates for species richness and diversity  Manage wetlands for invasive fish and plants  avoid the unwanted introduction of a species that could decimate breeding  

22 Management Goals and Objectives:  Maintain terrestrial habitat  Abundant deciduous/mixed forest cover  Restrict invasion of dominant conifer species  Prevent habitat disturbances  Prevent installation of permanent dams upstream and downstream of wetlands  maintain stable water levels for wetland breeding habitat  Limit use of motorized vehicles in Neithercut  Encourage private property owners to contribute their land in the form of a conservation easement 

23 Management Recommendations  Main Goal:  Increasing wetland breeding habitat throughout Neithercut in order to reduce local extinction rates and increase population success of these three amphibians  Recommendations:  1. Create corridors connecting hospitable wetlands for these three species.  Most amphibians cannot migrate more than 200-300 meters  Corridors can be preserved by not clear cutting areas between wetlands and by avoiding deforestation

24 Management Recommendations Cont….  2. Create and maintain breeding habitat through hydroperiods and vernal pools  There are two types of hydroperiods:  Breeding Hydroperiods: the number of days when amphibians are actively breeding or larvae are developing in inundated wetlands  Pond Hydroperiods: the number of days a pond is inundated with surface water  Amphibians tend to inhabit areas with intermediate hydroperiods  Various hydroperiods should persist for 4-9 months  Hydroperiods too long in duration can cause an increase in predators  3. Decrease chemicals in order to increase species overall fitness  Freshwater environments are an ultimate sink for chemicals  Pesticides and herbicides shouldn’t be used within 100 yards of wetlands because of their slow decomposition

25  4. Managing and monitoring both native and potentially harmful non-native species.  Harmful species can be in the form of insects, fish, mammals, birds, and vegetation  Fish are one of the largest threats to amphibians both as predators and competitors  Fish presence will be monitored through electroshocking in order to manage for invasive/unwanted species  Invasive vegetation such as cat tails (Typha spp.) outcompete beneficial native vegetation and therefore will need to be managed  5. Maintain and create terrestrial habitat for all three species  Corse woody debris serve as source of cover during winter months and serve as adequate cover for prey  All fallen debris should be left untouched  Upland mixed/hardwood forests are utilized by these amphibians for foraging  All deforestation and clear cutting will be avoided as much as possible Management Recommendations Cont….

26 Neithercut Habitat Quality Good overall habitat quality  good sources of wetlands dispersed throughout the property with higher lands for post breeding seasons and hibernating periods (Trenham and Shaffer 2005).  Several areas also have potential for temporary wetlands in the spring. Elm Creek provides flooding areas of different levels for the various needs of the different species. A healthy hardwood habitat provides necessary shade, hospitable surface temperatures, soil structure, and adequate soil moisture that

27 Figure 12. Landcover and wetland classification for Neithercut Woodland, Clare County, MI.

28 Evaluation Techniques and Monitoring  Juvenile and adult counts – Pit fall silt fences  During peak breeding activity periods for each species  Completely around wetland areas to monitor the amount of adults that enter the breeding pool and to see how many juveniles leave the wetland to  Whenever pit fall fences are used, daily visits are mandatory to count frogs and release them back to the other side of the fence.  Call surveys  Surveys will be conducted once a week during breeding periods  Egg masses  Surveyed over a three week period according to each frogs breeding time

29 Evaluation Techniques and Monitoring  Water Quality:  pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and conductivity  Changes in water level  Erosion and sedimentation  Environmental toxicants  Macroinvertebrate surveys (sediments and wetlands)  Turnover and extinction rates:  Extinction: dividing the number of ponds where local extinctions were observed by the number of ponds that were occupied the following year.  Colonization rates: dividing the number of newly occupied ponds by the number of occupied ponds from the previous year.

30 Timeline:  Year One: Spring 2008  Frog counts through breeding call surveys and pitfalls  Begin water quality and soil testing  Create buffer zones around wetlands  Begin planning process  Begin all baseline monitoring of invasive predators and available prey species Fall 2008  Continue assessment  Begin creating corridors  Control for invasive species

31 Timeline (Continued)  Year Two: Spring 2009  Maintain terrestrial habitats  Monitor hydroperiods  Monitor for the presence of chemicals  Species Count  Continue monitoring invasive predators and available prey species  Fall 2009  Monitor corridors for disruptions  Correct any corridor disruptions Fall 2009  Maintain and monitor achievements from Fall 2008  Year Three – Year Five:  Spring 2010 – Fall 2012 continue tasks as done in previous seasons.

32 Budget Neithercut Management BudgetYear 1Year 2Year 3Year4Year 5 Equipment NeededOur Cost Hydrolab Quanta: Transmitter, SST$3,395.00 $0.00 Hannd 3814 Ecological Test Kit$162.00 $0.00 BOD Sampler$76.45 $0.00 BOD Bottles$19.95 $0.00 Turbidity Sensor$935.00 $0.00 Runoff Sampler$4,470.00 $0.00 GPS, eTREX, Garmin$119.00 $0.00 AquaCalc 5000 Open Channel Computer$1,850.00 $0.00 Staff Gauges$32.00 $0.00 Hydra Probe II Soil Probe$361.50 $0.00 Complete Soil Test Kit$47.00 $0.00$45.00/refill$0.00 Dip Nets (3)$20.00 ea. $0.00 Chest Waiters (3 Pairs)$51.00 $0.00 Maintinence On Equipment$1,000.00 Travel Expenses$2,500.00 Exotic Species ExterminationWill BeBasedOnSpecies LR – 20 Electrofisher$6,700.00 $0.00 Frog Calls Donated Silt Fence$25.00/30.5 m Pit Fall Cans$0.00 Total:$21,778.90$3,500.00$3,545.00$3,500.00 Total for Entire Project: $35,823.90

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