Every year, on the first warm, rainy nights of spring, thousands of amphibians migrate to vernal pools and other wetlands to breed. Many are killed when their journeys take them across roads. To reduce amphibian roadkill, the Harris Center for Conservation Education coordinates volunteer Salamander Crossing Brigades, who move migrating amphibians across roads by hand, keeping count as they go.
Nearly 300 people volunteered with our Crossing Brigades in 2023, providing safe passage for 6,386 individual amphibians at 33 different crossing sites in the greater Monadnock Region.
The Harris Center also worked with the City of Keene to close the North Lincoln Street and Jordan Road crossing sites to vehicles on six migration nights this spring, specifically for the protection of migrating amphibians. It is an honor to partner with the city on this project.
Collectively, these detours and associated volunteer efforts provided safe passage for more than 2,700 individual amphibians at North Lincoln Street and Jordan Road alone, including 2,353 spring peepers, 198 wood frogs, 86 spotted salamanders, and 10 Jefferson complex salamanders, which are a species of greatest conservation need in New Hampshire. It’s important to note that these numbers are underestimates of actual amphibian activity. This is true every year, as some portion of the amphibian migration always takes place after our volunteers have gone home for the night — but is even more significant this spring, as our heaviest rainfall (and corresponding amphibian migration) mostly occurred after midnight. Keeping the roads closed from dusk to dawn provides meaningful protection for these late-night migrations, even if no volunteers are awake to keep count.
The community effort surrounding the amphibian crossings in Keene is truly an inspiration. From late March through early May, more than 75 people came to North Lincoln Street to experience the magic of the migration, including many families with young children. Twenty additional volunteers assisted with the migration at Jordan Road. Students and alumni from Keene State College and Antioch University New England were a dedicated presence at both sites.
We would like to thank the City of Keene, especially the Public Works Department, for their work in creating such safe, successful detours. We’re also deeply thankful to our many volunteers throughout the Monadnock Region for their dedication, and to the residents of the Jordan Road and North Lincoln Street neighborhoods in Keene for so graciously driving the long way around on rainy spring nights.
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