Worldwide, many amphibian species are experiencing dramatic declines in population abundance and density due in part to habitat alteration, emerging diseases and climate change. In addition, many amphibian species that inhabit urban and suburban areas are threatened with habitat loss and degradation caused by increasing urbanization and resulting in declines in amphibian distribution, abundance, and diversity in urban areas. Understanding the effects development has on amphibian populations is becoming increasingly important so that we may better manage our urban populations and prevent extirpations of species from their natural ranges. Whatcom County has experienced significant growth over recent years along with severe range contractions of species such as the Western toads (Anaxyrus [Bufo] boreas).
Within Whatcom County we know very little about the amphibian species present and population trends. This project is intended to provide this missing baseline information.
To meet this goal the project is a “Citizen Science” approach using a network of citizen volunteers to collect scientific field data. This not only allows the collection of large quantities of data, but also promotes public engagement and increased stewardship and protection of this organisms.
Our program focuses on training volunteers through class and field experience to independently identify amphibian species and collect habitat and population data that is directed back to this project for public use.