Amphibian Crossing Project
Helping Salamanders (and other amphibians!) Safely Cross the Road
Along with a group of volunteers and members of Richland and East Rockhill Townships, Heritage Conservancy established Quakertown Swamp Amphibian Rescue Partnership. This partnership helps to provide safe passage for small amphibian creatures across a busy road during breeding season at the end of each winter.
Most amphibians require both land and water, at different stages of their lives, to survive and reproduce. Amphibians are born in water as larval forms and eventually undergo metamorphosis, changing into an adult form. Many species leave the water to live out their adult lives in a terrestrial environment, but they must return to water to breed and lay eggs.
Amphibians are excellent bio-indicators. They have permeable skin that can easily absorb toxic chemicals from both air and water, making them very sensitive to any environmental changes, such as changes in air and water quality. A drop in population could be an indication of the degradation of the health of the surrounding environment. Amphibians are a vital part of the swamp’s functioning ecosystem. They eat insects and other small aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. In turn, they provide food for fish, snakes, turtles, larger frogs, birds, and small carnivorous and omnivorous mammals.
In the Quakertown Swamp, one of Heritage Conservancy’s Lasting Landscapes®, frogs, salamanders, and other amphibians indigenous to the swamp must cross a busy road in order to get to the vernal pools on the other side to breed. The journey to the breeding grounds can be quite dangerous for these creatures. Passersby usually don’t notice them on the road, and therefore, few cars slow down to allow them to cross safely. Unfortunately, this is the sad case for thousands of salamanders, frogs and other amphibians in the Quakertown Swamp area, which is the largest inland wetland in the county.
Amphibian crossings usually occur in the evening during the first warm winter’s rain. The actual salamander rescue project is scheduled to take place in early spring. It takes only a few nights for all of the salamanders and other amphibians to reach the vernal pools. During this time, drivers should be aware and use caution.
To find out more about this project, contact Laura Baird at 215-345-7020 x 135.
- Amphibians of the Quakertown Swamp Brochure
[3.66 MB / pdf]