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Diversity 2018, 10(4), 108;

Reconnecting Amphibian Habitat through Small Pond Construction and Enhancement, South Okanagan River Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Environmental Studies, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617, USA
Environment and Climate Change Canada, Delta, BC V4K 3N2, Canada
School of Environment, Resources & Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 6 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 29 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation and Ecology of Amphibians)
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The arid south Okanagan River Valley, British Columbia is a highly-modified landscape; where wetland and riparian habitat loss exceeds 85%, and 88% of remaining wetlands experience at least one harmful anthropogenic stressor. This multi-stressor landscape for amphibian species at risk led to a collaborative stakeholder approach for habitat restoration and species recovery. The main project goal was to increase the quantity and quality of lowland wetland habitat by reconnecting known amphibian-breeding sites with constructed and/or enhanced small ponds. Long-term amphibian monitoring data were used to determine strategic locations for wetland construction and/or enhancement. Habitat enhancement outcomes (Ntotal = 21 sites) since 2006 include 10 newly constructed ponds, enhancement of eight re-contoured ponds after historic infilling, and invasive predatory species removal at three sites. Project ponds were monitored annually (2007 to 2014) for calling frogs, the presence of eggs, and metamorphic emergence. Early signs of colonization and metamorphic success for Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana) (N = 13 sites) and Pacific treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) (N = 7 sites) populations have been observed, however no records of Blotched tiger salamanders (Ambystoma mavortium) colonization has been detected. Wetland habitat construction and enhancement have doubled the number of available fishless ponds to support breeding within the study area and engaged landowners through voluntary stewardship. Whether constructed or enhanced ponds have aided species recovery is unclear, though the colonization and successful metamorphosis of some species provides early supporting evidence that it will. View Full-Text
Keywords: agroecosystems; amphibian; ecological planning; terrestrial habitat; wetland restoration agroecosystems; amphibian; ecological planning; terrestrial habitat; wetland restoration

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Ashpole, S.L.; Bishop, C.A.; Murphy, S.D. Reconnecting Amphibian Habitat through Small Pond Construction and Enhancement, South Okanagan River Valley, British Columbia, Canada. Diversity 2018, 10, 108.

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