•Share your Enthusiasm
If you get excited when you hear a new frog or see a toad in your garden, then share your experience with friends and family. People will not take the time to protect their natural wonders if they are not aware of them. Go to a pond with your children or grandchildren to uncover the secrets waiting there first hand. Get the kids (you too) to create a nature journal with descriptions and drawings.
Frogs and toads can be good indicators of a degraded environment if we know how their populations vary. To measure changes a baseline needs to be established. So frog monitoring programs by citizen scientists are vitally important. Two of the best known monitoring programs are FrogWatch USA™ and the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP).
Interesting Fact: You can usually get frogs at a pond to start croaking if you make the calls yourself for a little while.
•Build a frog pond in your backyard - for FREE!
Peggy says, “If you build it, they will come.” Put in any size pond on your property, keep it clean and natural, and in a few seasons it will be populated by a variety of frogs and toads. Through the Arkansas Multi-Agency Wetland Planning Team (www.mawpt.org) Arkansas citizens can submit a plan to build a wetland area on their property (including ponds). Once approved and constructed, the state will give you a credit on your state income tax return for 100% of the cost up to $50,000 ($5,000 per year for 10 years). Check out their website for more details.
•Endangered Species Act/CITES
Frogs and toads, like other animals, can be placed on Endangered Species lists. International, federal, and state agencies can determine the status of frogs and toads and take actions to protect them. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
In our state, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) is responsible for protecting endangered species and additional species of Special Concern. There are no frogs or toads on the AGFC Endangered Species list, but the Wood Frog and Strecker’s Chorus Frog are listed as Special Concern. The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) monitors the status of state species. In addition, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) protects species according to the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
•Minimize use of pesticides/herbicides
Let’s face it. The biggest threat to our frogs and toads (and nature) is us! Frogs and toads need fresh water to breed and survive. Whatever is spread on our lawn and gardens is soon washed off with the next rain (or sprinkling) and ends up in our wetlands and waterways. Even small amounts of pesticides and herbicides in the water can have devastating effects.
The most widely used herbicide in the United States is Atrazine. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for Atrazine in drinking water at 3 ppb (parts per billion). Horrific reproductive degradation has occurred in frogs at levels far less than 3 ppb. Do we think we are somehow immune to these biological effects because we are so intelligent? The European Union banned Atrazine use on its crops a decade ago. Tell the EPA we should too.
•Save the Frogs Day
Organizations like Save the Frogs help to get the word out about the dangers to frogs and us. Save the Frogs Day is held the last Saturday in April around the world. Check out the website for ways to participate in this year’s celebration of these special amphibians.
Arkansas has an open hunting season for Bullfrogs from April 15th to December 31st with a daily limit of 18. No other frogs or toads can be hunted or legally removed from their habitat without a collection permit. Bullfrogs may not be sold (so are intended for personal use). You must have a fishing license to hunt bullfrogs.
•Slow down on wet nights
It is not only a good idea to drive slower on wet nights for personal safety, but the rain brings out the frogs who always seem to think the water is bluer on the other side of the road. Perhaps you can save a few by slowing down and avoiding squashing them.
•Vote for the environment/Land use hearings
As you know, some of our political leaders are aware that humanity depends on an Earth rich in biodiversity. Other leaders, not so much. Your vote helps to place them in positions of power where they can make a difference. At land use meetings, it is important that a wetland-knowledgeable person be allowed to advocate for the preservation and conservation of nature while we are deciding how human interests need to be addressed.
In many parts of the world (including the US), endangered frogs and toads are being removed from the environment and colonies are being maintained in an artificial lab to preserve the species until they can be reintroduced into the wild again. This process has had no success yet because the original environments are gone (and won’t return). Those efforts would be better placed to preserve the environment so the frogs prosper where they belong.