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View Full Version : funding vs. nature...sigh


cheddarsox
20th April 2008, 14:39
Yesterday I went to two of my favorite local amphibian breeding sites...only to find they have been drastically altered by human interaction. One, the creek that feeds it was redirected due to some landscaping on the property upstream.

I have monitored that temporary pond for 9 years, and at this time of year, barring drought, it is usually full of three species of frog tadpoles. Easily a few hundred per square yard surface. Yesterday I found two tads of one species after netting around in several areas of the pond, and the water was in very bad shape.

Then I drove across town. A large utility easement that went through a wetland and had a nature trail that was tended by a local man...has recently been declared a Nature Preserve. One of the most reliable local breeding ponds for A maculata and A opacum...has been drained and trees planted. And the acres of wetland have had a deep channel cut into them, causing them to drain into the river...so now there are just a few very small (imagine the size of your living room) ponds for the local amphibians to breed in.

This time last year, the place was a cacaphony of several frog and toad species. Yesterday, in one small pond, I found A maculata larvae and a few leapord frog tadpoles, and in a small permanent pond a few green frog tads (look to be last years).

On the one hand, I expect that to secure funds to keep up the area as a nature trail, it had to prove it would be used by people...so they drained it, put up a picnic area, and made a frisbee golf course. On the other, for decades, as a mere utility easement, it provided habitat for species not found in many other areas in the county. I saw birds there I never see anywhere else, and of course the herps and wildflowers.

I don't know if this was the only way to keep the nature area from being developed or not. Maybe it is a trade off, the human interest/use supports the protection, but it has been so drastically altered. I read the sign saying that no hunting or collecting was allowed, but after I saw what had been done to the place...I thought that more damage had been done to the local wildlife than if they allowed hunting and collecting.

A very strange way to "create" a nature preserve, by so severly altering the habitat.
I wonder if they even knew what they were doing, if anyone bothered to do a species survey etc. I know many local amateurs knew what lived on the place, but once the "town" got involved, well, put it into professional hands and they don't listen to people like us.

Sometimes, i am glad I will be dead before I have to live in a world sans amphibians...fatalistic I know, but true.

John
31st May 2008, 22:36
It's pretty hard to answer your post. Unfortunately people do what people want to do and can get away with, regardless of what gets in the way.

flyangler18
31st May 2008, 22:58
It is distressing to hear of such events, but there is recourse. Have you ever heard anything about Operation Frog Pond (http://www.treewalkers.org/projects/OFP/)?