AMPHIBIAN MONITORING OF CEAP WETLANDS IN THE MID-ATLANTIC REGION
Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research
2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To access the impact of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)implemented wetland projects in the Mid-Atlantic region on the populations and activities of amphibian.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The presence or absence of amphibians in the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) implemented wetland projects will be accessed via a variety of techniques. These will include daytime vocalizations, egg mass counts, larval dipnet surveys, minnow trap surveys, and visual encounter surveys (VES) of adults and larvae. This will involve field visits to each site during appropriate seasons to conduct egg mass, larval, and VES. Frog loggers will be used to record calling male frogs.
Amphibians around the world have suffered dramatic declines and several extinctions over the past several decades due to habitat loss and diseases. Wetland habitats throughout the United States have declined sharply in numbers due to these primary factors. One way to enhance amphibian populations is to restore or create wetlands in the landscape. Agriculture throughout the United States was one of the leading causes of amphibian losses because of conversion of wetlands to fields. Restoration and creation of wetland habitats in former agricultural lands are prime ways to decrease amphibian losses. The mid-Atlantic Conservation Effect Assessment Project (CEAP) assesses the success of restored and created wetlands in several ways, including counts of tadpoles and salamander larvae to obtain relative abundance and sizes. Several CEAP wetlands were studied in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It was determined that restored and created wetlands in agricultural wetlands support the highest diversity of amphibians and reptiles relative to non-restored wetlands and some natural ponds with full canopy cover. Restored wetlands are shallow, often ephemeral, have high food resources, and lack full canopy cover. Amphibians are prime indicators of wetland and ecosystem health due to their sensitivity to factors that negatively impact wetlands. They can be viewed as environmental sentinels that indicate a positive effect from wetland conservation practices. The project will be monitored via planning meetings and site selection visits.