Urban Amphibian Conservation
The Amphibian Foundation works closely with our community, as well as the amphibian communities populating our urban environment. We believe firmly that the more people are engaged with nature and wildlife, the better off we (and our urban habitats) will be. Aside from working directly with partners and land managers to restore habitat for amphibians, and re-introducing species back out onto the landscape where they were once found, we guide people (of all ages) out into area parks and greenspaces to learn about and witness amphibians. We do this through our annual 'Salamander Stroll' during the Atlanta Science Festival, through our joint Atlanta Urban Ecologists program that we offer with other area nonprofits, to our community science initiative the Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program (MAAMP) in which we train interested neighbors to monitor the amphibians in their own neighborhoods.
One example of our work is the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) which was once common, but was reduced to only 2 small temporary wetlands in the metro region. We worked with our partners at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve in Decatur, GA USA to repopulate the species back into the preserve, where they hadn't been seen in 20 years. The preserve was committed to restoring the habitat and removing invasive plant species which altered the habitat to the point where it was no longer suitable for Spotted Salamanders. Once the invasives were removed, we began a repatriation initiative by introducing eggs and late stage larvae to an artificial ephemeral wetland on the preserve. After several years of introductions, Spotted Salamanders are now detected in every life stage, are reproducing on their own, and appear to be in stable condition!
More recently, the Atlanta History Center has been working hard to restore habitat on their property and built a wetland to support amphibians, such as Spotted Salamanders. Last year, we translocated 30 of our late-stage Ambystoma maculatum larvae from the Amphibian Research and Conservation Center, and will follow those up with more in the upcoming year. With any luck, we will have a similar response and Spotted Salamanders will recolonize the site. If we are successful, we will have doubled the populations of Spotted Salamanders in the metro Atlanta area.