Conservation, Research and Education Opportunities International

Traffic and roadway impacts on amphibian diversity and distribution in the Snoqualmie Valley, WA

Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

This is a companion project to a 2016 CREOi award.

Globally, amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates. Seasonal migration of amphibians from summer breeding ponds to winter upland habitats makes them particularly sensitive to landscape fragmentation and urbanization. In rapidly-urbanizing western Washington State, the Snoqualmie River Valley represents a rural area that retains a high density of wetland habitats with potential for amphibian breeding. However, increasing traffic on rural roads likely represents an increasing impediment to seasonal migration to and from breeding ponds.

A recent meta-analysis indicates that the threats to amphibian populations in North America are not easily generalized across regions, and therefore understanding local population dynamics and counteracting local threats is the key to effective amphibian conservation. This project is designed to inform conservation actions by improving local knowledge of Snoqualmie Valley amphibian diversity and distribution and by elucidating impacts of rural roads and traffic on amphibians. Our approach will include road surveys to assess crossing locations and mortality, and pond surveys to assess abundance and diversity of amphibians along a gradient of landscape fragmentation. ($15,000)