The Department of Natural Resources announced this week that its 20th annual statewide Frog and Toad Survey would begin this spring. Michigan’s survey is second only to Wisconsin’s in longevity.
The DNR Wildlife Division coordinates and analyzes data for the survey, while volunteers throughout the state conduct the field work for the survey. These annual survey efforts help biologists monitor frog and toad abundance and distribution in the state.
“We have collected a large, valuable data set to help us evaluate Michigan’s frog and toad populations,” said Lori Sargent, the DNR’s survey coordinator. “We’re now able to start watching trends and thinking about how to slow down some of the species’ declines.”
For example, Sargent pointed out that over the past 19 years Michigan has seen a decline in Fowler’s toads and mink frogs, two species that have a limited range in the state, unlike most of the other species that occur statewide.
Declining populations of frogs, toads and other amphibians have been documented worldwide since the 1980s. Studies suggest amphibians are disappearing due to habitat loss, pollution, disease and collection.
Volunteer observers conduct the surveys along a statewide system of permanent survey routes, each consisting of 10 wetland sites. Observers visit these sites three times during spring, when frogs and toads are actively breeding, listening for calling frogs and toads at each site, identifying the species present and making an estimate of abundance.
“We could still use some new volunteers in all parts of the state,” Sargent said. “Please consider joining us for a fun, educational time every spring and adopt a route. The continued success of the program is dependent on strong volunteer support.”
Those interested in volunteering should contact Lori Sargent at SargentL@michigan.gov or 517-284-6216 and provide their name and address.
More information on the Frog and Toad Survey and other projects supported by the Nongame Wildlife Fund is available at www.michigan.gov/wildlife.