Small Acts of Conservation Kindness: Frog Ponds

— by Shannon Hogan, 11 August 2022

This spring local Cortes resident, Autumn Barret-Morgan, transformed an ordinary cement pond into a perfect breeding ground for frogs! By placing pruned branches from the orchard trees into the pond she created an attractive frog spawning habitat. Frogs prefer to only lay their eggs on shallow vegetation that acts like an anchor, keeping their eggs nice and safe.

That was the simple part though, the real battle is the invasive species that thrive in and around the pond. Autumn is slowly winning the fight by manually removing invasive plants like yellow-flag iris and Japanese knotweed and replacing them with native aquatic plants such as cattails and wapato plants. The other half of the fight is keeping the ducks out of the pond. The more effective tactic: fencing off the pond! All her hard work is paying off greatly though, the pond is swimming with morphing tadpoles, and she even spotted a Great Blue Heron catching its dinner in the pond one night! Autumn says the biggest reward would be spotting Western Toad (a species-at-risk) eggs in the pond! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that!

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Tadpole in the late stage of morphing into an adult frog

Small concrete pond with littered branches for frog eggs