Community volunteers throughout the Hudson Valley are preparing to document the annual breeding migrations of salamanders and frogs, which may occur as soon Saturday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Friday.
With this week's unseasonably warm temperatures and the rainy weekend forecast, the 2017 migration may have an unusually early start.
The volunteers are part of DEC's Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project.
After the ground has started to thaw in late winter and early spring, species such as spotted salamander and wood frog emerge from underground winter shelters in the forest and walk overland to woodland pools for breeding.
In New York, this migration usually occurs on rainy nights in late March and early April, when the night air temperature is above 40 degrees. When these conditions align, explosive or "big night" migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move, can occur, with many crossing roads.
Volunteers document Hudson Valley locations where migrations cross roads, record weather and traffic conditions, and identify and count the salamanders, frogs, and toads on the move. The volunteers also carefully help the amphibians to safety cross roads.
The program is in its ninth year, and more than 300 project volunteers have assisted more than 8,500 amphibians crossing roads.
The DEC encouraged drivers to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season. Amphibians come out after nightfall and are slow moving; mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads.
For more information, visit //www.dec.ny.gov/lands/51925.html or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Project volunteers are encouraged to use the hashtag #amphibianmigrationhv in their photos and posts on social media.
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