The FROG Conservation Project
by Dennis Caldwell
Dennis Caldwell, field biologist, graphic artist
and outreach lead for the FROG team.
The FROG Project is wrapping up its 3 year National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Grant with our final report. We accomplished all our goals but follow-up monitoring is important to truly track the success of the project.Accomplishments under our project-funded work:
Status, Ongoing Work, and Recommendations:
- Surveyed the entire region for perennial water vertebrates, including monitoring and an exhaustive census of aquatic sites in our focal region.
- Eradicated bullfrogs, crayfish, and, where possible, non-native fishes.
- Established working, educational, and cooperative relationships with key area ranchers; schools; conservation groups; federal, state, and county agencies; and small property owners with water features.
- Developed Safe Harbor Agreements with private owners.
- Designed a large-scale landscape plan for Chiricahua leopard frog meta-populations in this "frog-shed" (this is the expected area throughout which rapid frog movements are expected over about one decade)
- Enhanced habitat for aquatic species, including non-native removals, disease control, pond deepening, well improvements, and fencing to regulate cattle access.
- Actively rescued drought-threatened leopard frog populations.
- Propagated Chiricahua leopard frogs by captive breeding and head-starting.
- Established new Chiricahua leopard frog populations within the meta-population context.
Even though project target goals have been accomplished, and a meta-population based landscape design for regional Chiricahua leopard frog restoration has been implemented, administrative delays have been significant. Major work to secure and monitor this success is still ongoing.
Thank you to all those who have been involved as volunteers, property owners and team mates along the way!
- First, the most immediate priority is to ensure the success of bullfrog and crayfish eradication in 2013. This is essential, because a delay or hiatus could lead to an exotic species reproductive event that would rapidly set back the achieved success by years.
- Second immediate priority is to complete two remaining pond infrastructure enhancements that will ready two sites for new, assured water supply sites for Chiricahua leopard frogs
- Third immediate priority is to ensure that Chiricahua leopard frog populations, which have been established without the chytrid fungus pathogen (Bd: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) remain Bd-free for sufficient time to expand rapidly, and to thus initiate dispersal and meta-population dynamics on the desired large landscape scale.
- The fourth key priority for immediate work in 2013 involves ensuring that Safe Harbor Agreement processes and the associated new and pending population establishments are completed successfully.
- Fifth, it is immediately and critically necessary to monitor the bullfrog buffer zone, remove immigrant bullfrogs, if any, and determine the status and sufficiency of the buffer.
The Frog and Fish Outreach Group has resources available on-line, including a species guide, pond guide, and children's page. The FROG Project was a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant to CWP on behalf of the FROG Project partners. Project oversight was conducted by CWP board member Mead Mier, of Pima Association of Governments. Newsletter assembled by Mead.
BREAKING FROG NEWS-Some Monitoring to Proceed!
BLM Tucson is providing $8,000 to the Cienega Watershed
Partnership to monitor the bullfrog populations over the next
few months..... and eradicate as needed!
Jeff Simms and Dennis Caldwell will be working through the
This monitoring work is important to protect the work done
over the last three years by the Frog Project.
Andrada Quarry Files for Expansion
-shared by Charlotte Cook, with the Empire-Fagan Coalition
W.R. Henderson Quarry, also known as the Old Andrada Quarry, mines for limestone in the Empire-Fagan Valley
The Andrada Holding LLC plan includes blasting, water quality impacts, residential well impacts and air quality issues.
TUESDAY, MAY 21st, 2013
6:30pm - 9pm
SYCAMORE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, COMMUNITY ROOM
16701 S HOUGHTON ROAD
CORONA DE TUCSON, AZ 85641
Public Comment Period is Underway:
The Empire-Fagan Coalition feels the Finding of No Significant Impact will not require appropriate mitigation, and points to the following points:
 The MPO has inaccuracies and is incomplete.
 W.R. Henderson has an established and well-documented pattern of disinterest, lack of engagement, and dishonesty with the surrounding community. This renders any mitigation and/or reclamation commitments within the MPO null and irrelevant.
 W.R. Henderson has a history of air quality and other violations.
The BLM has issued an Environmental Assessment and is currently seeking public comments on the proposed action. The public comment period ends May 30, 2013. Comments maybe submitted by mail, email, fax or turned in at the public meeting. Comments and questions maybe directed to: Mr. Brian Bellew, Tucson Field Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
, or Mr. Daniel Moore, Geologist, email@example.com
; Bureau of Land Management, Tucson Field Office, 3201 E. Universal Way, Tucson, AZ 85756, PH: (520) 258-7234, Fax: (520) 258-7238
In addition to the BLM notice, the State Land Department has issued a Mineral Exploration permit to Andrada Holding LLC, of 640.0 acres.
Legal Description of Permit: Permit located in Pima County
08-116116-T.17s-R.16E-Sec.16. ALL: 640.0 acres
12-21-2011, Intersection of Sahuarita and Wentworth Roads.
WHAT'S HAPPENING NEXT?
Science on the Sonoita Plain - June 8, RSVP
YES! Sessions begin: June 13, 14 & 18, info
Pima County Natural Preserve at Cienega Creek wet/dry flow mapping walk, June 13. RSVP
Las Cienegas wet/dry flow mapping walk, June 22, RSVP
Cienega Corridor Conservation Council (CCCC) and Sonoita Valley Planning Partneship (SVPP) Joint Meeting
To add your knowledge of the history of the watershed contact Shela McFarlin
Documenting the Watershed Timeline
Biological Planning, April 19:
New CWP Grants Awarded!
- Bullfrog Monitoring for Las Cienegas from the Bureau of Land Management
- Youth Restore for the YES! summer program to restore wetlands
CWP Sustains the Cienega Watershed
Have you wondered how the CWP accomplishes its mission?
Through partners, volunteer efforts, the CWP Board Members, CCCC and SVPP participants, and grants. The CWP has no staff except for those individuals who are contracted through grants. Collaboration is the key to sustaining the watershed.
Whatever CWP accomplishes is done collaboratively with a host of partners ranging from federal and county agencies to non-profit groups to private individuals and residents. More info on CWP partnerships, here.
CWP would like to recognize the work of one partner this month,
The Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch.
The Research Ranch, Photo by Sierra Club
The Research Ranch is a cooperative partnership among the National Audubon Society, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy, Swift Current Land & Cattle and The Research Ranch Foundation. The Research Ranch lies three miles south of Elgin, and 65 miles southeast of Tucson Arizona. For more than 30 years, the Research Ranch has protected grassland ecosystems through conservation, research, outreach and education.
The Research Ranch is the location of the upcoming 5th annual Science on the Sonoita Plain Symposium and was also the location for the recent Biological Planning meeting, both important events for CWP and partners. Since public access is restricted, it is a treat to see the Research Ranch at special events, such as these. Special thanks to Research Ranch director, Linda Kennedy, for these arrangements.
More info on the Research Ranch, here
Renew your CWP membership today!
With your help, we can sustain programs in the Cienega Watershed.
THANK YOU RECENT DONORS WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED OVER
$2000 CASH AND OVER $25,000 IN TIME
Thanks to recent donors
Neal and Diana
We met our goal for donated time, thanks all! That will be doubled 1 for 1 by a matching grant to fund youth projects- Hooray!
BUT... CWP IS STILL CASH SHORT---CAN YOU PLEASE HELP?