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Friday, October 6, 2017

Leopard Frog workshop held at Beaver Mines and Beauvais Lake

Northern Leopard Frog (photos: Parks Canada/Kim Pearson/Lea Randall)
Toni Lucas - Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association recently held a workshop at Coalfields School, outside of Beaver Mines regarding the Northern Leopard Frogs who are listed as threatened in Alberta. They are a species of special concern under Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Over 25 people attended the workshop, which included a trip to Beauvais Lake where reintroduction methods are being used to increase population. These frogs can reach up to a little larger than 4 inches, are often brown or green with distinctive spots which often have a paler ring around them.

Workshop at Coalfields School
"Our intent on hosting the workshop was to share information with the community, and raise awareness about leopard frogs, and amphibian habitat," said Waterton Biosphere Reserve Science and Stewardship Coordinator Ph.D Andrea Morehouse. The speakers included Calgary Zoo Conservation Research Population Ecologist Lea Randall, (MULTISAR) Multiple Species at Risk Brad Downey, Waterton Lakes National Park Kim Pearson, and Alberta Parks Sarah Downey.

Distribution

Lea Randall's work has focused on the norther leopard frog. She spoke on how to identify the frogs, habitats throughout seasons and life cycles, distribution, and their current status in the province of Alberta.  She explained the frog is on the threatened list in Alberta, however in British Columbia it is edged into the endangered zone. Decline in population was noted in 1970s and 80s. Some of the factors effecting the frogs and preventing recovery include industrial development, agriculture, and changing water patterns.

MULTISAR partners with landowners to conserve grassland species at risk in Alberta. Brad Downey addressed habitat stewardship initiatives and ways landowners could make their water sources more hospitable to amphibians.

Waterton Lakes National Park Kim Pearson is also the Chair of WBRA. She spoke to the introduction work being done within the national park.

Touring Beauvais Lake
Sarah Downey got the chance to take the group out to show reintroduction efforts which are taking place out at Beauvais Lake.

Morehouse said the frogs have specific winter habitat needs, including water with high oxygen levels. This means the water either has to have running water coming into it, or be a large body of still water. This differs from some frogs who bury themselves and hibernate through the winter. "We know they are in Beauvais, we know their in Waterton Lakes National Park, There is a population in Magrath... One of the things we are trying to do, from the Biospheres perspective, is to get some of this information out there, and to hear stories from land owners who had frogs on their place, or even if they have got them there, now. We have been looking at potential locations for habitat improvement, or down the road, potentially some re-introduction efforts."



Email sightings of leopard frogs to  nleopardfrog@watertonbiosphere.com

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