In mid-October 2014, SAVE THE FROGS! spent five amazing days in California’s Eldorado National Forest building wetlands for our official state amphibian, the endangered California Red-Legged Frog with members of the US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Trout Unlimited, Center for Wetland & Stream Restoration. Together we built six wetlands for California Red-Legged Frogs and took part in a Wetlands Construction Workshop led by Tom Biebighauser, who has built over 1,700 wetlands across North America over the last thirty years. This week we plan to build three more wetlands, and we hope you can join us or donate to make our efforts possible.
SAVE THE FROGS! has partnered with the SLV Charter School and together with students and teachers we will build a 16×20′ wetland at the school. Amphibian populations have been rapidly disappearing worldwide and nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. Habitat destruction is the number one cause of amphibian population declines worldwide and the majority of California’s wetlands have been destroyed or modified. Constructing wetlands at schools is a fantastic method of educating hundreds of students and teachers about amphibians and ensuring that amphibians have a home in which to live and breed. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Thank you for your support!
The SLV Charter School is a public school in Ben Lomond, California in the mountains of Santa Cruz County. In 1997 one of the teachers built a small pond beside the school but it has permanently dried up. We have surveyed this site and with your help we will turn it into an outdoor classroom, with an oval-shaped 16′ x 20′ wetland as its centerpiece. This wetland will create habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities for students and teachers. We will incorporate the students into the construction of the wetlands, which will be completed in one day, introducing many students to the wonders of nature and the value of wildlife. You can download our wetland design reports for the SLV Charter School wetland here. The cost to implement this project is $2,067.
The wetlands we built in Eldorado National Forest
We built the 60′ x 40′ wetland shown below, as well as five others in the vicinity. When the rains come, they will fill with water and serve as habitat for an array of wildlife in an arid landscape. California Red-Legged Frogs were once common in this area, but the gold miners nearly ate them to extinction in the late 1800’s. The wetlands are designed to last and require no maintenance. The pond shown below is nearly three feet deep and will hold water for most of the year. We designed it to dry out each year so that it will not be colonized by fish or non-native American Bullfrogs, both of which require permanent water to survive. Wetlands can be built to retain surface water either by compacting clay soil or by using a plastic liner; they could also be dug to fill with groundwater if the water table is close enough to the surface. The pond shown below uses a wildlife-friendly plastic liner as there was no clay and no groundwater at the site. Unlike most liners sold in stores, our liners were not coated with fungicides or other harmful chemicals.
Thanks to the Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy for assisting with funding the wetlands we are building this month! Thanks to Tom for sharing his wealth of knowledge about wetlands.