Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Construction is Underway! Restoring Delaware Bay for Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds

Friday, March 27th, 2015
Starting the 2015 Restoration Season with Fortescue and Thompson’s Beach

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Fortescue Beach Shorebirds © Dr. Larry Niles

Fortescue Beach Shorebirds © Dr. Larry Niles

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and American Littoral Society have started this season’s restoration work in Delaware Bay! Currently, we are working on projects on Fortescue Beach and Thompson’s Beach. Read more about our restoration work on RestoreNJBayshore.org.

 

Dr. Larry Niles of LJ Niles Associates LLC, a leader in efforts to protect red knots and horseshoe crabs for over 30 years, has shared updates throughout the month of March on the blog of RestoreNJBayshore.org:

 

Visit our restoration blog on RestoreNJBayshore.org often to read more updates on our progress!

Construction at Fortescue Beach ©  Dr. Larry Niles

Construction at Fortescue Beach © Dr. Larry Niles

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Coordinator for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Water Quality and Amphibians

Friday, March 27th, 2015
A Closer Look into the Relationship between Amphibians and Their Habitats

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is excited to celebrate Amphibian Awareness Month during March 2015! Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on the amphibians of the Garden State and our work to protect them. 

By: Kelly Triece, Wildlife Biologist

Wood Frog Eggs © Kelly Triece

Wood Frog Eggs © Kelly Triece

Amphibians are unique group in the animal kingdom, they have porous skin! This permeable skin allows water and air to pass directly pass into their body without filtering through their stomach.

 
While their permeable skin and soft eggs give amphibians an advantage to take in more oxygen, it also makes them more susceptible to pollutants. Amphibians therefore can serve as “canaries in the coal mine” for water quality. Biologists throughout the world are concerned about the health of amphibians because their health can be linked to the health of the environment they live in.

 

Water pollutants, such as, road salts, pesticides, metals and other sources of runoff from agriculture and cities can have negative effects on overall health and reproduction of these critters. Water quality degradation has been linked to physical malformations in amphibians and may also reduce their ability to fight off pathogens, leading to reduced reproduction and mortality. These issues linked with water quality and amphibians may also have a larger implication of the health of the ecosystem, including human health.

 
Therefore, it is important that populations of amphibians and other wildlife are carefully monitored and protected. In order to protect our water quality in and around our homes it is important to limit sidewalk salts, garden fertilizers and pesticides as much as possible. Make sure to follow label instructions and application rates. Amphibians are also beneficial as they eat insects, including agricultural pests and serve as food to other wildlife. They have also been an important role in research and medicine. Each day, consider taking small steps in your own house to help the amphibians that call the Garden State home.

 

Learn more:

 

Kelly Triece is a Wildlife Biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

 

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey “2014 Annual Report” Released

Friday, March 27th, 2015

CWF Releases its First Annual Report Ever Using a Story Map Format: “2014 Annual Report

By David Wheeler, Executive Director

Technology has proven to be vital to Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s work protecting rare wildlife species over the years. Our biologists depend greatly on modern technologies to band, track, and share online the journeys of wildlife. Our webcams broadcast the most intimate behaviors of nesting birds and bats across the web. And we seek out ever-evolving communications technologies to spread the word about the inspiring stories of wildlife, from social media and infographs to e-books and Story Maps. These technologies offer newfound abilities to share complex data on multiple levels, while still incorporating the awe-inspiring photography and videos that bring wildlife’s stories to life.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is excited to offer our 2014 Annual Report in a unique format that utilizes one of those technologies – Story Maps. In the past year, we have explored the wonders of American oystercatchers with our first Story Map – and now the annual report allows all of our projects to be highlighted in this interactive format.

A screen capture of one of the pages of the CWF 2014 Annual Report Story Map.

A screen capture of one of the pages of the CWF 2014 Annual Report Story Map.

Visit the multiple pages within this Story Map to learn about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s many projects and partnerships in 2014, and the imperiled wildlife species in need of our help. Find examples of the innovative and dedicated leadership of our biologists and volunteers. And take an online journey across the state to learn how our projects made a difference in all corners of New Jersey in 2014 – a great year for wildlife in the Garden State!


 

Road Closed: Salamander Crossing

Friday, March 20th, 2015
Road Closures Help Amphibians Migrate to Vernal Pools to Breed

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is excited to celebrate Amphibian Awareness Month during March 2015! Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on the amphibians of the Garden State and our work to protect them. 

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Yellow Spotted Salamander © Lindsay McNamara

Yellow Spotted Salamander © Lindsay McNamara

 

On the night of March 14, Conserve Wildlife Foundation Communications Coordinator Lindsay McNamara attended the first closure of Beekman Road this season. Beekman Road, in East Brunswick, New Jersey, is closed to traffic about two or three nights for six to twelve hours each spring by Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission (Friends of EBEC). Friends of EBEC organizes these road closures to maintain local biodiversity.

 

In the woods on either side of Beekman Road, vernal pool habitat exists. Vernal pools are temporary woodland ponds that fill with water during the winter and spring and dry out in the summer. These vernal pools are extremely important for a number of amphibians in the area. Spotted salamanders, wood frogs, green frogs, spring peepers, Fowlers toads and chorus frogs all rely on the vernal pools for breeding.

 

Some amphibians, like spotted salamanders and wood frogs are entirely dependent on the vernal pools for breeding. They leave their winter hibernation spots in upland forests and migrate (often in large groups) to the vernal pools. Research suggests that these species follow the same migratory paths each year, often traveling distances of as much as 1,000 feet from their hibernation spots.

 

At the vernal pool, mating occurs, eggs are deposited by the females, and the adults leave the habitat and venture to the surrounding woods. The adults spend their summer in these wooded areas before slowly retreating back to their winter hibernation areas, and the natural cycle begins again.

 

Unfortunately, the migrating amphibians need to cross Beekman Road to get from their hibernating spots to their vernal pool breeding grounds. Road kills during this journey significantly reduce salamander and frog populations and can lead to local extinctions at breeding ponds.

 

Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission has worked together with a number of partners to close Beekman Road to traffic during nights when amphibian migration is extremely likely. These road closures help protect migrating salamanders and frogs as they move across Beekman Road to their breeding vernal pools.

 

Friends of EBEC consider a number of variables before they decided to close the road. A wide range of factors trigger salamander migration including the amount and timing of rainfall, the date, the temperature of the air, the temperature of the ground, the availability of open water on the vernal pools, the depth the salamanders are migrating, soil moisture and many others. Interestingly, studies have shown that males typically migrate first and arrive at the vernal pools before the females. It seems females need a higher average air temperature to stimulate their movement than the males.

 

Volunteers are encouraged to come on these rainy nights to help the amphibians cross the road. Bring your friends, your family and don’t forget a flashlight, to the next road closure of the season! Updates are posted on the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission’s blog.

 

These road closures are a great way to protect local biodiversity and educate New Jersey residents about wildlife in their state. Conserve Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program, lead a number of Amphibian Crossing volunteer programs across New Jersey. Join us!

 

Learn more:

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Coordinator for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Ranavirus Impacting New Jersey Amphibians

Friday, March 20th, 2015
Emerging Disease Known to Affect Amphibians, Reptiles and Fish

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is excited to celebrate Amphibian Awareness Month during March 2015! Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on the amphibians of the Garden State and our work to protect them. 

By: Kelly Triece, Wildlife Biologist

Picture1

Wood frog and egg masses at a vernal pool in northern New Jersey © Kelly Triece

 

While human diseases such as Ebola and the zombie apocalypse virus have made recent headlines in the news and on our TV screens, there is a virus that is also affecting our local amphibian population. This emerging disease known as Ranavirus, has become increasingly common in the U.S., including New Jersey.

 

This virus has been known to affect amphibians, reptiles and fish. It is of great concern because it can kill nearly 100% of amphibian larvae (tadpoles) within just a few days once a population is infected. Ranavirus causes skin ulcerations and organ hemorrhaging, and is especially threatening to larvae, specifically wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus). Transmission of the disease can be spread direct contact, waterborne exposure, contaminated soil, and ingestion of infected tissues.

 

While the virus has been known to cause major die-offs all over the world, little information on the timing, extent, and frequency of the disease outbreaks is known in the Mid-Atlantic U.S.. In order to gain more information, a multi-state survey has been underway since 2013. The project is led by Scott Smith of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Conserve Wildlife Foundation staff biologists are doing a large amount of New Jersey’s field surveillance with support from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP).

Netting tadpoles ©MacKenzie Hall

Netting tadpoles ©MacKenzie Hall

As part of this project, in 2013, breeding ponds throughout the New Jersey were sampled for prevalence of Ranavirus. Thirty larvae from each study pond were captured by dip net, physically examined, euthanized, and preserved for screening and other analyses at the labs of Montclair State University and/or the National Wildlife Health Center. Results determined that about half of these ponds tested positive for Ranavirus.

 

In 2014, Ranavirus-positive sites were re-sampled for presence of the disease. At about 25% of the sites, disease symptoms and/or dead tadpoles were found, though no mass die-offs were observed. Investigations are still ongoing to further determine the impact of Ranavirus on amphibian populations as well as potential environmental factors that may be associated with the disease.

 

Learn more:

 

Kelly Triece is a Wildlife Biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

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