Building Wetlands in Elgin, Arizona

Kathlyn Franco Tom Biebighauser

Dear SAVE THE FROGS! Supporters,

I am excited to announce that thanks to 13 generous donors who contributed $1,962 to the SAVE THE FROGS! wetland program, I was able to build three large wetlands in Elgin, AZ in early June 2017. These wetlands are at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society. One of the three wetlands already has water in it and we expect the others to fill as soon as the rains come. These wetlands will benefit at least three threatened species: the Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis); the Northern Mexican Gartersnake (Thamnophis equesmegalops); and the Desert Pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius).

Kathlyn Franco Tom Biebighauser
SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Coordinator Kathlyn Franco Osagie and wetland construction expert Tom Biebighauser excited to be building wetlands for threatened species.

These wetland projects would not have been possible without the collaboration of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Sky Island Alliance, Borderlands Restoration, Linda Kennedy from Appleton-Whittle Ranch of the Audubon Society, Tom Biebighauser of the Center for Stream & Wetland Restoration, our amazing excavator operator Don Smith and many volunteers. Raising money, coordinating all of the volunteers and supplies, and designing and constructing the wetlands requires very skilled individuals. It is because of all the wonderful and dedicated people that this project was a huge success! SAVE THE FROGS! is proud to be a part of the construction of these three wetlands, which will help at least three threatened wildlife species.

“I am so thrilled to hear about you and your work! As a zoologist (herpetologist) and water fanatic, I so appreciate the work you are doing.”
— Judith Schriebman

arizona audubon wetland
This was the largest wetland we built (50′ diameter). We made it about 4′ deep to assist the threatened Desert Pupfish. We needed many hands to set the heavy liner in place. The logs and branches will be great habitat for amphibians.

arizona wetlands chiricahua
We built this 45′ diameter wetland over a failing wetland where the Northern Mexican Gartersnake has been sited. This wetland is already holding water, and will continue to fill when the rains arrive.

arizona wetlands
During this time of year, fire risk is extremely high in Arizona. Matthew, a volunteer fire fighter, sprayrd down the soil before we dug our 40′ diameter wetland.

The liners weighs a few hundred pounds so we need a tractor with forks to move the liner around. This is Tony, a well known and respected volunteer at Appelton-Whittell Research Ranch.

arizona habitat restoration
Don Smith, our amazing excavator operator, has built several wetlands throughout Arizona with Tom Biebighauser. Because of his previous knowledge of building wetlands for wildlife, we were able to get ahead of schedule and work efficiently and effectively. I look forward to building more wetlands with him in the near future.

arizona audubon Linda Kennedy
This is Linda Kennedy of Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society holding a piece of liner with all of our names on it. The liner was placed at the bottom of this wetland and covered with geo-textile and 6” of soil.

refrogging america

These weren’t the first wetlands I’ve built in Arizona: read about the wetlands I helped build in Arizona in March 2016 here.

I’m planning to build more wetlands this year, and could use your assistance! If you love our wetland program please support it by making a donation! Every little bit helps. Thank you!

“These efforts have great educational and environmental value. And, Kathlyn really knows her stuff! Happy to help!”
— Kelly Geer, SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotourist & Wetlands Donor