Listen to the Frogs

Jump into some fun community science. WCAMP is working to get a better understanding of where to non-native frogs are living in Whatcom County. The American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) and Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) have both been introduced to our County. At present we know that they ARE here, but we really don’t know where they are – and aren’t. Better understanding of where these two species are and are not is important for amphibian conservation in our fine County.

You Can Help. We are asking interested folks to do two things:
1. Join our Chasing Invasive Program and learn to listen for these frogs and report your findings (click here for more info).
2. Report any sightings of either species to To be useful a sighting should have a photo, date, location and contact info.

You can come and learn about these frogs in person on June 18th from 6pm till 8 pm at Tennant Lake (Free registration is required – click here)

Congratulations! WCAMP Wins Award

Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)

We are very excited to announce that Dr. Stephen Nyman and Vikki Jackson of WCAMP have been named Recovery Champions for 2020 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service! Recovery Champions are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners whose work is advancing the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals.

Check out this video:

Dr Stephen Nyman
Vikki Jackson

“Vikki Jackson and Dr. Stephen Nyman of the Whatcom County Amphibian Monitoring Project are recognized as recovery champions for their leadership in recovery of the Oregon spotted frog. Their tireless efforts to bring their community together around this federally threatened frog has vastly improved our understanding of the species, stemmed the decline of several populations, and physically reclaimed lost habitat. The monitoring project has been instrumental in a number of recovery efforts for the frog, including the development of a volunteer community dedicated to increasing our understanding of the species and other amphibians through citizen science and community outreach. Their dedication to the species has resulted in an informed and engaged community, new information about the species, several newly discovered populations, and novel habitat recovery methods.”

The Oregon Spotted Frog project success has been due to all the hard work volunteers have put into it. We thank each and every volunteer that has been and will be part of this worthy project to save this imperiled frog.

A few of the many WCAMP volunteers! Thank You!

Season of the Frog

As February wains and March moves in we begin to hear the beginning of frog choruses in the Pacific Northwest. Most of this noise is made by the very small, but mighty, Pacific Chorus Frog. The males of this tiny frog are gifted with a voice you just can’t ignore. And that is exactly what these dudes hope. Male Pacific Chorus Frogs gather at local wetlands, ponds and sometimes puddles and begin their songs to attract and whoo females in the area. If all works out a female will choose a mate and she will lay eggs in the watery habitat.

The males typically chorus into June and may mate a number of times. As the chorus season closes in June the adults leave the watery world and venture into the surrounding uplands to feed and regain their energy after a several month party.

Adult Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) Photo Credit: Vikki Jackson
Pacific Chorus Frog Egg Mass Photo Credit: Vikki Jackson

Chasing Invasives

American Bullfrog

We have all been spending more time indoors than we like. If you are like me, I am feeling a little directionless and feeling like I have so little ability to make a difference. There have been many studies showing getting outdoors and into nature is good therapy. WCAMP has an opportunity for you to get outside and do something positive. We are launching our summer amphibian call survey program to discover where the invasive American Bullfrog and Green Frogs are living in Whatcom County. Know where these uninvited guests live help in the overall management of sensitive amphibian species such as the Oregon Spotted Frog (who really does not like these intruders).

This program is for everyone. It can be done alone or with your family. Kids will love it! All that is required is you go out and listen! No mucking around in the mud in water – just find a quiet place near a pond, lake, slough or even your local stormwater pond and sit and listen. If this wets your interest click this link to learn more! (Click Here for More Info)

Solitary Investigations

Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) credit: V. Jackson

In this strange time we have sadly had to cancel all of our spring group adventures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. I am heartened in seeing many folks getting exercise walking outside and exploring in their solitary experiences. I have received a number of emails asking about different amphibians people have come across. If you go to the Volunteer tab on the website you will find Amphibian Identification Guides and some other fun stuff to help you out.

I can also highly recommend using iNaturalist which is an amazing application that is an excellent learning learning tool and data collection of living organisms.

Group Field Activities Cancelled!

Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii)

In view of the current Covid-19 situation all WCAMP group forays and events are cancelled. We thank those that have assisted us in the field so far this season. You are all Awesome!

We hope everyone remains healthy and safe. We will be adding some ideas for independent activities where you can learn about and explore amphibians safely from your home. Keep checking for new content!

As folks are out and about exploring their backyards and socially distanced walks we challenge you to take photos of amphibians you find! Email them with a little info on where it was found to . We will post images here and on our Facebook and Instagram pages to make people “hoppy” .

Changes in 2020

As we enter a new decade we are making a few changes to our programs we believe will better serve amphibians in Whatcom County. We will be putting more energy into working with sensitive species and invasive species. Never fear we will continue to provide outreach and assistance for all amphibian species in the County.

Over that past 8 years we have developed a strong database of the distributions of amphibians species in the County, particularly in the more lowland habitats. We know that we have some sensitive species that need more work and feel we should channel our efforts towards them. Our work has focused on native species to date, but it is becoming clear that understanding the non-native amphibians in Whatcom County is important to the survival of the native species. We will be putting more efforts into mapping and looking at management of invasives.

So how can you help this year? Here is what we have lined up. We need volunteers to make this work, so Click Here if you want to be on the mailing list for upcoming events.

Oregon Spotted Frog Egg Mass Surveys

Volunteer training is March 7th starting at 9 am. Whatcom Land Trust Office (412 N Commercial Street, Bellingham). Click here for more details.

The Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa) is a Federally Threatened and State Endangered species. WCAMP has been on the forefront of survey work and habitat management for this species. We will be training volunteers to come with training biologists to count egg masses of this important frog.

BP Amphibian Surveys

In the past we have had spring surveys out on BP lands. This year we are shifting to summer surveys to see if we can locate the elusive Western Toad and to see if we can get a handle on the locations of Bullfrog and Green Frog populations on their properties. This event includes a half day training on amphibian ID followed by field survey work after the training. The next day we will spend a full day out looking for amphibians. Click here to learn more.

Toadly Toads

This will be our first year in the field with this program. We will be working with volunteers to identify locations of Western Toad breeding and migration crossings. We also are looking at setting up a docent program at Silver Lake to answer questions people have about toads at this important breeding area. Click here if you want to learn more.

High Mountain Frogs

We are after folks that like the high back country in Whatcom County for this one. Cascades Frogs live high in the mountains (2,000 feet and above). We are trying to locate any populations/individual of Cascade Frogs. We are working on a page for this project right now.

Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Improvement

For the past four years WCAMP under the direction of Dr. Stephen Nyman has been working to improve Oregon Spotted Frog habitat on a special Whatcom Land Trust property. We will be having a series of work parties in late summer to make happy frog habitat. Click here for more info.

If you would like to be added to our email mailing list just Click Here. We do not sell or share our list to anyone.

Why Chase Frogs

Worldwide, many amphibian species are experiencing dramatic declines in abundance and are rapidly disappearing. As a group, amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and the tropical worm-like caecilians) are under assault by habitat loss, emerging deadly diseases, climate change, and introduced predators. Amphibian species that dwell in urban and suburban areas are being squeezed into smaller areas of suitable habitat, where the survivors are isolated from other populations of their species by long distance and inhospitable habitats, including the need to cross busy roadways.  Now and in the future, the places where most of us live may be places where just a few of the most tolerant amphibian species can be seen or heard. Understanding the effects of development on amphibian populations before it is too late may allow for a different future. 
Within Whatcom County we know surprisingly little about the distribution of amphibian species — where each species occurs — and whether particular populations are in decline or stable, or are at risk.  A few species, such as the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), appear to have experienced severe range contractions, disappearing from large areas where they once occurred, but baseline information with which to describe these changes or predict future losses is mostly lacking. The Whatcom County Amphibian Monitoring Program was created to provide this missing baseline information and to help find solutions to maintain amphibian biodiversity in Whatcom County.
To meet our goal we follow a “Citizen Science” approach using a network of citizen volunteers to collect scientific field data. Our program focuses on training volunteers through class and field experience to independently identify amphibian species and collect habitat and population data for public use. This not only allows for the collection of large quantities of data, but also promotes public engagement and awareness of amphibians as fascinating and ecologically important organisms deserving of protection and stewardship by concerned landowners and as part of public policy.


Western Toad adult, Everett Lake, Concrete, WA, August 2013 (copyright Erin Donahou)