- Written by STF! Webmaster
- Category: Wetlands
If you are interested in learning how to build or restore wetlands, please fill out the short form below so we can keep you updated when we announce new wetland construction events or release new training materials. We hold events both online and in the field, so regardless of where you live, please do fill out the form if you are interested in wetlands.
SAVE THE FROGS! Wetlands Coordinator Kathlyn Franco regularly holds online video conferences to discuss wetlands, and she also leads SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Construction Workshops.
Here Is The Wetlands Construction Training Expression Of Interest Form!
In 2015, SAVE THE FROGS! teamed up with the Clifford School in Redwood City, CA to build six wetlands. Over the course of two days, 700 students and teachers took part in the project.
- Written by Kathlyn Franco
- Category: Wetlands
California Red-Legged Frogs (Rana draytonii) were once abundant in California, but their numbers declined drastically in the mid-1800’s when gold miners began eating them in large quantities and their mining activities eroded hillsides and polluted the water bodies the frogs rely on. Modern day Californians negatively impact California Red-Legged Frogs by destroying the frogs’ habitats for homes, roads, timber, golf courses and shopping centers. To make matters worse, over two million live non-native American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) are imported into the state each year for use as food, and the bullfrogs are voracious predators of California Red-Legged Frogs.
There is hope for the red-legged frogs however: in 2014, SAVE THE FROGS! led a successful campaign to make the California Red-Legged Frog the state’s official amphibian, and we initiated our efforts to Re-Frog America by constructing wetlands for these and other threatened amphibians.
California's official state amphibian, the California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii)
California Red-Legged Frogs had not been known to breed in the Eldorado National Forest for many years, but one lake that borders the forest (Lake Of The Cross) was being used successfully by the frogs for breeding. As such, the Eldorado Forest Service contacted Tom Biebighauser of the Center for Wetland and Stream Restoration for his assistance in creating wetlands on the Forest Service property.
In October 2014, SAVE THE FROGS! biologists Dr. Kerry Kriger, Kathlyn Franco and Emily Moskal joined Tom, the U.S. Forest Service and the American River Conservancy as well as biologists from several other state and federal agencies, and together we created nine wetlands for California Red-Legged Frogs over the course of a week. Prior to construction, various people had stated that these wetlands would not function; however, despite a severe drought, seven of the wetlands naturally filled with water, and followup surveys found California Red-Legged Frogs using the new habitats! Our wetlands are assisting an iconic and federally-listed amphibian - this is a huge success!
Left to right: Kathlyn Franco, Dr. Kerry Kriger, Tom Biebighauser, Emily Moskal (October 2014)
In October 2016, SAVE THE FROGS!, the U.S. Forest Service, the American River Conservancy and Tom Biebighauser returned to Eldorado National Forest to conduct more surveys and to build more wetlands. SAVE THE FROGS! invited volunteers, as one of our prime objectives is to train biologists and landowners how to build wetlands.
SAVE THE FROGS! volunteers surveying a wetland we helped build in 2014.
In October 2016, SAVE THE FROGS! volunteers saw California Red-Legged Frogs using these wetlands that we built in 2014.
Thanks to the Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy for their financial assistance with the 2014 wetlands.
On October 3rd and 4th, 2016, SAVE THE FROGS! and our partners created two new wetlands for the California Red-Legged Frogs - and they have been successful. Maura Santora (US Forest Service Aquatic Biologist) informed us that one month after the construction, red-legged frogs were found using both of the ponds!
Taking an elevation reading as an excavator shapes the new wetland
The wetland crew installing a pesticide-free liner in Eldorado National Forest, October 2016.
Covering the pesticide free liner with geotextile to protect it.
Here's what SAVE THE FROGS! Volunteer Mindy Meadows (who flew in from Tennessee) wrote to SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Coordinator Kathlyn Franco after the construction event:
“It was such an amazing experience! Not only did I get to meet you and learn from you but also Leslie, Emily, Tom, Maura, Neil…so many wonderful people with so much knowledge! We learned things we didn’t even expect….like fixing the equipment road after the wetland was built. Thank you SO much for making it all happen and for saving the frogs!!”
We covered the liner with soil and branches so amphibians can hide and attach egg masses.
Here is an exceptionally cool video of the entire October 3rd, 2016 wetland being built…and condensed into three-minutes:
These wetland projects are vastly important. We have successfully created wetlands that are being used by federally threatened frogs, giving them increased chance of survival, even as their habitats elsewhere are being degraded. More wetlands like these will enable their populations to rebound.
We look forward to sharing more success stories like this! If you agree that Re-Frogging America by building wetlands for threatened amphibians is important, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to SAVE THE FROGS!. In 2017, SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Coordinator Kathlyn Franco is planning to lead the construction of seven new wetlands - and your financial support will make them possible.
SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Coordinator Kathlyn Franco inspecting one of the Eldorado wetlands she helped construct in 2014.
SAVE THE FROGS! regularly holds educational events online and in person to teach people like you how to build wetlands. Please be sure to fill out this short form so we can keep you posted about upcoming events and new training materials!
- Written by Dr. Kerry Kriger
- Category: Wetlands
SAVE THE FROGS! plans to build six wetlands in 2017. Four of the wetlands will be approximately 30-ft diameter and two will be 12-ft diameter. Each wetland takes a full day to build. The large wetlands require heavy equipment (such as an excavator). The small wetlands we will build by hand.
The estimated cost for SAVE THE FROGS! to build a 30-ft wetland is $6,954. This covers the initial site survey, wetland design, coordinating, planning, travel expenses, heavy equipment and equipment operator, building materials, seeds, native vegetation, promotion via our website, newsletter and social media, as well as reporting to funders and partners and a followup site survey.
The estimated cost for SAVE THE FROGS! to build a 12-ft wetland is $3,530. This covers the initial site survey, wetland design, coordinating, planning, travel expenses, building materials, seeds, native vegetation, promotion via our website, newsletter and social media, as well as reporting to funders and partners and a followup site survey.
Thus, the total cost for the SAVE THE FROGS! 2017 wetland program will be approximately $35,582, for which we plan to deliver four large and two small wetlands. Of course we will also to continue to educate, empower, and inspire other frog enthusiasts to build wetlands as well!
We appreciate your financial support to ensure we can build these six wetlands and educate hundreds of volunteers in the process. You can donate here. Thank you!
- Written by Kathlyn Franco
- Category: Wetlands
SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Coordinator Kathlyn Franco writes about her March 2016 trip to save endangered species in Arizona by constructing wetlands and Re-Frogging America!
In February 2016 I assisted wetland expert Tom Biebighauser in re-building a failing wetland. This wetland is extremely important because it is situated in a desert where water is rare. Amphibians and other wildlife depend on these water sources for survival and breeding. This pond in particular is being built to hold water year round to manage for the Gila Topminnow; a federally-listed species of fish. The landowners built this wetland on their property but due to the sandy loam soil type, they are losing too much water directly into the ground and the rest to evaporation. Read on to learn more about this project and the different steps we took to fix this pond! Visit www.savethefrogs.com/wetlands to learn all about wetlands.
Arriving At The Scene (February 22, 2016):
Last night I arrived in Tucson, Arizona surrounded by the iconic Saguaro cactus and, today, I find myself being driven up 3,000 feet in elevation, 45 minutes outside of the city. I leave the big city of Tucson behind in exchange for the mesquite-grassland of Amado, a town with a population of only 295 people. The open land surrounding Amado has the space needed for wildlife movement and we plan to build a large, 90-by70-foot wetland for wildlife to thrive. The wetland will be on private property, a ranch endearingly named TimBuckTwo. Currently, the land where we are to build is barely holding water. In order to protect the federally listed Gila Topminnow and create a water source for wildlife, we want to repair this wetland reshaping the basin with an excavator to give it a slope less than 20%. This will give the wetland a more natural look and create an ecosystem with high biodiversity. We want the wetland to hold water year round for the federally endangered fish and surrounding wildlife, so we plan to make this wetland 8 feet deep in the center.
As we begin to reshape the basin we find a nonnative bullfrog hibernating.
This is a sure sign that amphibians can live in this area when water is available. To ensure the survival of our native amphibian species and our federally-listed Gila Topminnow, we removed this nonnative bullfrog. Once we finished reshaping the basin with the excavator, our volunteers, provided by Sky Island Alliance, helped rake and remove rocks and anything else that can puncture our geotextile liner that holds water.
After we raked the wetland and placed the geotextile with the help of the volunteers, we stretched out the geotextile and staked 12-inch spikes in at the elevation of the future water level. Elevation of the spillway (lower edge) determines the water level and where to stake the spikes. All of these steps took all day! To learn the next steps, please stay tuned.
SAVE THE FROGS! regularly gives online and in-the-field workshops and trainings to people who want to learn how to build and restore wetlands. Please fill out this short form so we can inform you when we have new courses and training materials available!