2020 Conservation wrap-up: Amphibian Study and restoration in the Cherry Valley

This month, Oxbow’s small but mighty conservation team wrapped up two big projects at once: submitting a final report that documents 9 months of amphibian research and on the same day completing our second-ever off-site restoration project.

Amphibian Study
The year-long amphibian study, “Assessing impacts of wetland restoration and hydrological management on amphibians”, showed us that local pond-breeding frogs and salamanders divide up habitat in large part based on hydrology (seasonal versus permanent ponds). Tree frogs and long-toed salamanders preferred seasonal ponds and northwestern salamanders and red-legged frogs preferred permanent ponds. The study also showed us that northern red-legged frogs (which we’re concerned about because they require a lot of forest area, much of which has been fragmented in western WA) seem to be breeding in some ponds in our region where forest habitat has been restored around them. Three cheers for ecological restoration! The Amphibian Study was funded by a grant from CREOi.

Did you know…Oxbow has been monitoring amphibians since 2017, and we share much of our data with the Woodland Park Zoo’s monitoring program in order contribute to that larger regional effort and dataset!

>> Read more about Oxbow’s work studying amphibians here

Off-site Restoration
Delightfully, the off-site project that Oxbow has been working on ties right in to the amphibian research, and was informed by it. Last week, our team finished installing 4,500 live stakes (cuttings) of willow, dogwood, and twinberry around three ponds in the Cherry Valley Wildlife Management Unit just north of Duvall. This was part of a larger collaboration with Ducks Unlimited and Sound Salmon Solutions to restore floodplain forest habitat for many species, but primarily northern red-legged frog, based in part on our monitoring work described above. The restoration work done by Oxbow was funded by a donation from the Snoqualmie Tribe.

 >> Read more about restoration projects at Oxbow and elsewhere in the Snoqualmie River Valley here

We’ll continue to follow up on both of these projects in 2021, and look forward to sharing more updates and reports on our website soon!