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Amphibian Surveys in the Upper Green River Watershed of Wyoming, May to September 2002

Publication Information

Author(s):
Katherine M Wright
David J Zafft
Publication Date: 2004-03-15
Tags: WLCI Agency Report

Amphibian surveys were performed on National Forest land in the upper Green River watershed of Wyoming in the summer of 2002. These surveys were conducted to gather baseline data on amphibian distribution, relative abundance and habitat requirements. Initial efforts were concentrated in river drainages, which were being considered for treatment with piscicides as part of a management plan for native Colorado River cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus). Boreal Toad (Bufo boreas boreas) specimens were collected for genetic and chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) analyses. Three river drainages were surveyed: LaBarge Creek, Gypsum Creek, and Cottonwood Creek (North and South Cottonwood Creek). Four species of amphibian were found and 62 specimens were collected. Numerous breeding sites were located: 19 Boreal Toad, 72 Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata), 40 Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), and one Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris). Boreal Toad breeding sites were most often associated with beaver ponds, shallows, emergent grasses on the northern shoreline, and silt/mud bottom substrates. Boreal Chorus Frog breeding sites were often isolated with shallows and emergent grasses on the northern shore as well as a silt/mud bottom substrate. Tiger Salamander breeding sites were frequently isolated in semi-permanent or permanent bodies of water, which lacked fish. The sole Columbia Spotted Frog breeding site found was isolated from other bodies of water, had permanent water, water lilies, and no fish. Threats to amphibians include chytrid fungus, oil development, gas development, road creation, suburban development, water manipulation, cattle grazing, as well as stream treatment with piscicides, herbicides, pesticides, and fire retardants (Phillips 1994, Alford and Richards 1990). Future work in Wyoming should include further investigations of amphibians to gather data pertaining to their distribution, abundance, and habitat requirements. This information will facilitate efforts to conserve Wyoming’s native amphibians.

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