More than 50 volunteers with Woodland Park Zoo’s “pond watch” program will fan out at Carkeek Park this Saturday morning to survey amphibian egg masses in ponds and wetlands.
Oregon Spotted Frog. Photo by Dana Payne, Woodland Park Zoo.
The volunteers have already completed special training. They will be armed with hip waders, digital cameras, GPS units, and other monitoring tools.
Eight amphibian species will be monitored under the new regional program: western toad, Northwestern salamander, northern red-legged frog, Pacific tree frog, Oregon spotted frog, rough-skinned newt, long-toed salamander and American bullfrog. This project will provide critical population data, which over the long term can help determine if amphibian declines or fluctuations are occurring.
The ancient class of amphibians includes salamanders, newts, an obscure group of legless creatures known as caecilians and, of course, the icons, frogs and toads. Because their skin is so permeable, amphibians are known as sentinels of the planet, signaling an early warning when something is not right in the environment.