“We estimate that over 3600 Western Toad and Columbia Spotted Frogs tadpoles were successfully transferred to a nearby pond,” said Lochsa Powell District Fisheries Biologist Karen Smith. “With mine restoration construction starting next week the rescue effort insures a greater survivability for this year’s amphibian populations in the Musselshell area.”
The crews split up among five different mine tailing ponds to wade the waters and net masses of tadpoles. YCC crews shuttled time-sensitive buckets of tadpoles across the river to a waiting truck bed that then drove the catch two miles to their new millpond habitat.
“Why is this important?” asks District Wildlife Biologist Glen Gill while addressing the crew, “Toad species across the West are in decline which can ultimately lead to a listing under the Threatened and Endangered Species Act. Promoting species survivability is good for wildlife and prevents additional regulation that can complicate our natural resource work.”
The tadpole roundup also provided an educational hands-on opportunity for the YCC crews. The Youth Conservation Corp program’s foundation is based-on the Integration of high school age students with Forest Service biologists and other specialists, which highlights career opportunities in environmental issues, sciences, and education.