Hudson Valley Prepares for Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings
Why did the salamander cross the road? No, this isn't the opening line to a corny joke, it actually will act as a heads-up as the warmer weather rolls in across the Hudson Valley.
According to the DEC, once the ground thaws from winter and temperatures at night stay above 40ºF the "Spotted salamander, Jefferson-blue spotted salamander complex, and wood frogs emerge from winter hibernation on rainy nights" usually in March and early April.
During this time period, you may see salamanders and frogs crossing the road in large numbers. So why do they do this?
The DEC explains:
Migration distances to woodland pools can vary from a few hundred feet to more than a quarter of a mile. Unfortunately, because forest and wetland habitats are often disconnected by development, many migrating amphibians need to cross roads and long driveways, leading to mortality of slow-moving wildlife, even in low traffic areas.
Obviously, these migrations across busy roads and high-traffic areas can be dangerous. Thankfully, the DEC has a program with volunteers to make the migration a little safer.
Volunteers with the Department of Environmental Conservation are getting ready to track data with the Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project. These volunteers will "identify locations where annual migrations of forest amphibians cross roads in the estuary watershed, and collect observations about the migration" according to the DEC website.
Since 2009, when the program was first created, the volunteers have "assisted 32,565 amphibians across roads during migrations and counted nearly 16,600 migrating amphibians killed by passing vehicles."
If you're interested in assisting with the Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project for next year you can learn more at DEC.ny.gov.