Question: Does Coal Effect Amphibian Populations?

sde

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Hi all,

So i was wondering if coal effects amphibian populations? See, there's this stream near by, that seems like it should have a great Dicamptodon population. Its fast, and clear, and clean, and it is rolling, and looks like wonderful habitat. It has nice wet forest around it, and i have, through pretty serious herping, only found 3 larvae?! I have searched in fast parts, slow parts, rolling parts, flat parts, and have only come up with three larvae! But the last time i was there, i notice that there was this strange rock everywhere! It was black, and crumbled easy. I took some home, and found out it is coal. ( i was tempted to put it in my dads stocking at Christmas xD ). So, i got to wondering if coal could effect the numbers, in one way or another?

Does anyone know? -Seth
 

Jennewt

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Too many unknowns here. Is there coal mining somewhere upstream? Or did the coal get there some other way? If it's just a few pieces in one stretch of stream, I don't think it would have any effect.

If you found 3 larvae, there's a good probability there are more. Maybe in a different area, or at a different time of year.
 

sde

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Thanks for responding, this is something that I have been wondering about a lot.

No, there is no coal mining up stream. There is a history of coal mining in the general area ( miles away ), but judging on the tree growth and habitat shape ( i.e. no roads or land disturbance that I have seen ) I don't think it has been mined.
No idea how the coal got there. But its not just a stretch of stream, for about 100 yards there is coal, some spots its everywhere, some spots there not much. Its hard to judge the distance though, the ground cover is tremendous and is a pain to navigate through, so I cant say for sure that that is correct. I also haven't explored the upper regions of the stream so I don't know how far up it goes. But there is one spot, about mid way up, where it is all over! Coal in the stream, coal out of the stream, it everywhere. Unfortunately I also haven't explored the lower portion of the stream either, thanks to private property.

Yah, I am sure there are more larva, in fact, I visited a few days ago and found one. But it just struck me that there were so few! I mean, its seems like it should have lots, at least compared to the other stream that has more silt, has trash, and fish. It has a decent population, so I thought that the rocky, trash free, fish free stream would have more. I have searched in the rain in the spring, and only found one or two larva. I have flipped quit a few rock and objects in the stream, but there is a lot more that I could have flipped that may have had larva in them, but I didn't want to because it might destroy that hiding place.

But is it possible that coal can effect amphibian populations? Has it been tested or proven or anything?

Who knows, maybe I will do a test about it.

Thanks! -Seth
 

JoshBA

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You could ask your Wildlife and Parks about it. They may be able to send someone down to investigate it. If it is coal, they would likely initiate a cleanup.
 

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I don't think anyone would clean it up. Coal ash (the leftovers from burning it) is toxic, but the coal itself isn't very toxic. It's just aged/fossilized peat moss.
 
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