Friday, April 22, 2011

Chorus Calling

Happy Earth Day! In honor of all things green, we're sharing a story from our Northeast District and how they created a habitat to help out the chorus frogs.

Last year, some chorus frogs were attempting to live and reproduce in some shallow swales on the north side of the Northeast District office. The frogs were having a tough time -- since the swales didn't hold water for long, any eggs that were laid were quickly dying as the swales dried.

Last fall, roadside operations staff constructed two small, shallow wetlands in place of the swales. They're designed to hold water into mid- or late summer before drying out. This will allow the frogs to successfully reproduce while preventing predatory aquatic insects from reaching high levels. The frogs have found the wetlands and have been calling loudly during the recent warm weather.

An added benefit? Tracks of deer, opossum, raccoon, turkey and other birds have been noticed around the wetlands, indicating other wildlife are finding them useful.

The chorus frogs will stay in the wetlands for a month or so and then spend the rest of the year in the grass, wildflowers and woods surrounding the wetlands.  

Information contributed by Chris Shulse, Roadside Manager for MoDOT's Northeast District.