SREL Reprint #2520




Amphibian colonization and use of ponds created for trial mitigation of wetland loss

Joseph H. K. Pechmann, Ruth A. Estes, David E. Scott, and J. Whitfield Gibbons

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, The University of Georgia, P.O. Drawer E, Aiken,
South Carolina, USA 29802

Abstract: Created ponds were built as an experiment in mitigating the loss of a wetland to construction. We monitored amphibian breeding population sizes and juvenile recruitment at these "created ponds" for 8.5 years and compared the populations to those observed at the original wetland, Sun Bay (≤ 600 m from the created ponds), and at an undisturbed reference wetland, Rainbow Bay. Some amphibians continued breeding migrations to Sun Bay even after it was filled with soil. Few of the anuran colonists of the created ponds had been previously captured at Sun Bay, but many of the salamander colonists had been collected. The created ponds became permanent, whereas Sun Bay and Rainbow Bay were temporary ponds. Juveniles of two salamander species and 10 species of frogs and toads metamorphosed and emigrated from the created ponds during the study. By the final years of the study, the community structure of adult and juvenile amphibians differed among the three created ponds, as well as between these ponds and the prior amphibian community at the filled wetland and the contemporaneous community at the reference wetland. Mean size at metamorphosis was smaller at the created ponds than at the reference site for two species of frogs, whereas the opposite was true for two salamanders. We conclude that the created ponds provided partial mitigation for the loss of the natural amphibian breeding habitat. Differences between the created ponds and the natural wetlands were likely related to differences in their hydrologic regimes, size, substrates, vegetation, and surrounding terrestrial habitats and to the limited availability of colonists of some species.

Keywords: wetland creation, mitigation, amphibians, migration

SREL Reprint #2520

Pechmann, J. H. K., R. A. Estes, D. E. Scott, and J. W. Gibbons. 2001. Amphibian colonization and use of ponds created for trial mitigation of wetland loss. Wetlands 21:93-111.

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