Jann Williams of the Forest Service and our El Dorado Chapter created a project to create Red-Legged Frog habitat near Georgetown. Frogs were known to populate private property near the divide. Jann searched for a nearby site within the National Forest to provide added habitat. Several sites were identified uphill from the existing population and Jann described a project and obtained approval for its conduct.
Jann led a team of about 30 individuals from the Forest Service, Save the Frogs, American River Conservancy, three from our chapter and some other NGOs on October 6 and 7 to create three wetland ponds at the site. Additional sites will be created in the near future.
Project design and technical direction were provided by Tom Beibighouser, consultant from Kentucky sponsored by the Amphibian and Reptile Organization. He was assisted by two others from British Columbia and Six Rivers Forest.
The project site was in a swale near the ridge top, had sandy loam soil and no water. Accordingly a lined pond was required. The ponds were excavated in the bottom of the swale and are 2-3 feet in depth. The liner is 32 mil PVC protected by 8 oz. geotextile cloth above and below. The materials were placed in the formed depression and nailed in place with 12 inch spikes along a level line defining the pond edge. Removed dirt was then placed over the liner to a depth of 6-8 inches so that all features were covered. Organic material logs and branches were included to improve habitat.
Plants and grasses will be added to the site as storms approach and Jann will anxiously await the ponds filling. It is believed that the ponds will retain water until August each year so that the frogs may complete their life cycle.