For salamanders and frogs, the trip from their winter habitat in the woods to their swampy spring breeding grounds can be treacherous. So this spring, the Town of Monkton, the Charlotte-based Lewis Creek Association and other partners want to build the amphibians their own tunnels, to bypass their often-deadly trip across Monkton Road.
To this end, they've started an SOS (Save Our Salamanders) campaign on the crowd funding site Indiegogo. They hope to raise $45,000 to construct two tunnels for the spring migration. A Lewis Creek Association press release states:
We are now reaching out to the world wide community who value diversity and understand the vital importance of protecting wildlife habitat and corridors. This local effort can help frogs and salamanders around the globe. Recent estimates suggest that one in three amphibian species is at risk of extinction. By preserving Vermont's amphibians, we can help save important populations in the Northeastern United States and help lay the groundwork for future projects throughout the world.
Campaign organizers predict half the salamanders attempting to cross Monkton Road are killed by vehicles. The project aims to reduce that number by funneling the amphibians through tunnel crossings under the road. They say they have a shovel-ready project, and just need the money to make it happen.
According to the Indiegogo campaign site, the SOS project aims to:
- Build two wildlife crossings to funnel frogs, salamanders and other animals under Monkton Road.
- Create a safe connection for critical wildlife habitat divided by an increasingly busy road.
- Ensure the survival of one of the largest known populations of the blue-spotted salamander, a species of regional significance, as well as a diverse group of other amphibian species.
- Support science-based and grassroots conservation solutions.
- Participate in a project that will help improve the local and global prospects of amphibian conservation.
Local artist Woody Jackson has thrown his support behind the project by creating three original watercolor paintings as donor incentives. The paintings are being reproduced as various sized magnets and prints for different donation levels. The first three donors of $2,500 or more will be awarded one of the original signed watercolors.