Amphibian Road Crossing Program

Updated 4//2018

Salamander

Why did the salamander cross the road? To get to the vernal pool! For thousands of years, amphibians have migrated from their upland wintering and denning habitats to lowland swamps, ponds, and vernal pools to breed every spring. After wintering deep underground, or in a frozen state of torpor, amphibians emerge on warm, wet nights in early spring to begin their march to breeding grounds, often crossing our busy roadways at great peril. Since NBNC began monitoring road crossings in 2005, ARC volunteer crossing guards have helped save countless of amphibians while proving important information to conservation science and natural resource planners.

The data submitted by ARC volunteers supports the work of our partners at the Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Our findings are also made available to city and town planners and conservation commissions to aid in transportation planning at the local level. As ARC grows, we are cultivating conversations with other amphibian conservation organizations to unify methodologies and expand the regional relevance of all local amphibian conservation work.


ARC goals

  1. Increase public engagement in amphibian conservation.
  2. Decrease direct amphibian mortality at road crossing sites.
  3. Inform transportation planning with robust data on movement and mortality at road crossings.

How it Works

  1. Volunteers “adopt” a confirmed or suspected amphibian road crossing site that has been identified by NBNC.
  2. Volunteers visit their site at least three times over the spring on warm rainy nights.
  3. Volunteers record weather, species, and abundance data using our online form while escorting amphibians safely across the road.
  4. The data is used by NBNC and partners to understand amphibian movement, prioritize road crossing sites in our communities, and influence road improvement projects.

Contact sean@northbranchnaturecenter.org today to get involved!

Program History

Beginning in the early 1990’s, environmentally conscious folks across the Northeast recognized the need to help amphibians in the annual migration. In our area, the Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas, the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (Brattleboro), the Harris Center for Conservation Education (New Hampshire), and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies are leading the charge.

The amphibian conservation program at NBNC began in 2005, and has focused on building public engagement around amphibian conservation while rescuing amphibians at documented crossing sites in central Vermont. Over the years, NBNC has presented over 50 amphibian monitoring trainings across the state, teaching hundreds of Vermonters to find and protect amphibians in their local communities.

With ARC, we are expanding our tradition of community engagement while refining our protocols to enhance the scientific value of our monitoring process. The data submitted by ARC volunteers will be integrated into the work of our partners at the Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas and the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Our findings will also be made available to city and town planners and conservation commissions to aid in transportation planning at the local level. As ARC grows, we are cultivating conversations with other amphibian conservation organizations to unify our methodologies and expand the regional relevance of local projects.

Upcoming Events

2018 Amphibian Migration Forecast

04/03: Conditions are right for limited movement tonight in snow-free areas in warmer parts of the state. If temperatures are 40 degrees or above and the rain picks up, you can expect early migrants to be moving at your site!

2018 Volunteer Resources

Questions? Contact sean@northbranchnaturecenter.org

 

 

North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206
info@northbranchnaturecenter.org

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