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Frog Egg Mass Surveys

Indian Jack Slough Amphibian Survey

“No way!”

“Yes, way.”

Have you ever seen lumpy water?  Look closely at the bottom of this picture. The straight lines are plant stems, but the rounded grape-like shapes are red-legged frog egg masses, tightly packed, fresh, clear and round.

Saturday, February 16 nine hardly volunteers found over 5,000 red-legged frog egg masses at Indian Jack Slough, mostly in newly-created wetlands. About 250 egg masses comprise the group pictured above.

 

Since WHAS and  Columbia Land Trust (CLT) started working together on  Indian Jack Slough (IJS) in 2007, a lot of progress has been made. WHAS provided baseline survey information on birds, trees, bugs and plants as well as amphibians, so that CLT better knew what was on the land. With a lot of planning and hard work, CLT recontoured the landscape of IJS, filling in ditches, clearing away reed canary grass, and creating islands and shallow ponds. The survey shows that red-leggeds are choosing to lay their eggs on little stubbly, barely emergent native plant stems over the monolithic reed canary grass that remains elsewhere on the 180 acre property.

 

The timing was great for finding masses, and agreeable weather made it fun. Red-leggeds were the star of the show. Other comers were about 200 long-toed salamanders but only four northwestern salamanders. Still too early for many northwestern salamander or any pacific chorus frogs to be reproducing. They should show up for the March surveys.