BP Citizen Science Amphibian Census Team

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BP has been a leader in amphibian conservation. The BP Cherry Point Refinery in Ferndale, WA has engaged in a Citizen Science Project that focuses on documenting amphibian species and populations on their lands. BP has extensive land holdings in Whatcom County, and much of this land is maintained as habitat. A wide range of wildlife use their properties, but little is known about what is there and how wildlife use it. In order to develop a strong stewardship program, BP is looking at working with local citizens to collect baseline information on amphibians. Work began in 2012 with initial surveys, but 2013 is the launching point for their new Citizen Science Amphibian Monitoring program. This is a BP sponsored project and they have kindly agreed to share their data with this program. The program includes a free training session for volunteers. Surveys will take place on weekends during March and early April 2013.  Contact Vikki Jackson for more information at vikki@nwecological.com

BP Emergent Wetland, excellent amphibian breeding habitat (photo credit, Vikki Jackson)

BP Emergent Wetland, excellent amphibian breeding habitat (copyright Vikki Jackson)

2013 Survey Results
We have just completed our first year of surveys with the BP Citizen Science Team. We had twenty-eight hardy souls that braved sleet, endless rain, and yes, a bit of sun to survey for amphibian egg masses on BP lands this spring. Twenty-two wetlands/streams were surveyed between early March and mid-April. Five amphibian species were identified in the survey area, four native. The four native species were identified based on the presence of egg masses within surveyed wetlands. Representative species are Northwestern salamander (Ambystoma gracile), Long-toed salamander (A. macrodactylum), Northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora) and Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla). No native bullfrog adults were observed on the warmest survey day within the permanent ponds near the center of the survey area. Of note was that all of the mentioned native species were also breeding in these ponds.

Total counts by species for the entire survey area are:

Northwestern Salamander: 340 egg masses
Long-toed Salamander: 90 egg masses
Northern red-legged Frog: 356 egg masses, 1 adult
Pacific Chorus Frog: 3441 egg masses, 44 adults

Overall, it was a very successful year. We look forward to continuing the program in 2014. Enjoy some photos of this year’s volunteers and finds:

Training workshop.

Training workshop

Did we mention it rained a bit during the surveys. Kudos to these volunteers!

Did we mention it rained a bit during the surveys? Kudos to these volunteers!

Part of the Crew from the first survey.

Part of the crew from the first survey

Satisfied Surveyor.

Satisfied Surveyor

Pacific Chorus Frog in hand

Pacific Chorus Frog in hand

Red-legged frog tadpole (Photo Credit: Vikki Jackson)

Red-legged Frog tadpole (copyright Vikki Jackson)

BP 2015 Results