Spring is in the air, and many of us are rejoicing, including local wildlife! In fact, due to the recent warm and rainy weather, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) expects salamanders and frogs to begin their annual breeding migrations in Hudson Valley. They are asking drivers to be cautious to help these amphibians cross the road safely.
Amphibians Will Soon Be on the Move
As temperatures rise and the snow melts in mid-March to mid-April, Hudson Valley forest species like the wood frog, spotted salamander, and Jefferson blue-spotted salamander complex emerge from their underground winter shelters and seek woodland pools for breeding. These pools are a critical breeding habitat for this group of amphibians, and to reach them, the creatures often need to cross roads.
Although the timing of this annual breeding migration is weather-dependent, it typically begins after the ground has thawed and night air temperatures remain at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the DEC, when conditions are just right, there can be explosive “big night” migrations with hundreds of frogs and salamanders on the move.
“Amphibians contribute to a healthy, functioning ecosystem and during this time of year, road mortality poses a significant threat to forest species that migrate to woodland pools for breeding,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos in a press release.
Starting this month, community volunteers throughout the Hudson Valley will observe migrations, record weather and traffic conditions, identify and count amphibians on the move, and carefully help them cross roads as part of the DEC’s Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project.
New volunteers are welcome to train themselves and learn more on the DEC’s website: https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/51925.html
From mid-March to mid-April, drivers are asked to proceed with caution during warm, rainy nights, in case there are amphibians crossing the road.