Amphibians are rapidly disappearing worldwide, and California is home to 16 threatened amphibian species. Santa Cruz is fortunate to have endangered California Red-Legged Frogs at Antonelli Pond, an urban pond that sees high recreational use due to its accessibility to town. Unfortunately, the long-term future of this population of endangered frogs is not secure due to the presence of predatory non-native fish and frogs at the site, as well as heavy infestation of weeds surrounding the pond.
In partnership with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, SAVE THE FROGS! will be working to restore habitat at Antonelli Pond and increase the number of California Red-Legged Frogs at the pond. We will remove non-native frogs and weeds, and plant native vegetation at the pond; create signs to educate the pond’s visitors about the plight of amphibians and ways they can assist amphibian conservation efforts; and create a short film to document our work at Antonelli Pond. Local youth groups will assist in these efforts, which will help ensure the long-term survival of Santa Cruz’s endangered frog populations.
Thanks to Patagonia for helping fund this project!
Antonelli Pond is a 6.4 acre pond located on the west side of Santa Cruz. The pond sees high recreational use due to its proximity to town. The site is home to a small population of California Red-Legged Frogs, which are under constant threat from:
(1) non-native fish, which eat Red-Legged frog tadpoles and eggs;
(2) introduced American Bullfrogs, which spread infectious diseases and prey on adult and juvenile Red-Legged frogs; and
(3) several invasive plant species (e.g. Poison Hemlock, Himalayan Blackberry, English Ivy and Cape Ivy) that create unsuitable terrestrial habitat for the frogs.
Fortunately, these threats are removable, as opposed to the more insidious threats faced by many of the world’s declining amphibian populations (e.g. global warming and airborne pollutants and pesticides). The combination of Antonelli Pond’s accessibility, and its occupancy by an endangered species whose threats can be easily mitigated provides an excellent opportunity to involve and educate the local community in an environmental conservation project of high value.
We will improve habitat conditions for California Red-Legged Frogs at Antonelli Pond, thus enabling the frogs to increase their population size and remain viable far into the future. We will also give local youth first-hand experience in the field of amphibian conservation by making them an integral part of this project, and we will educate the local community about the plight of amphibians and the importance of protecting remaining populations. Here's how we plan to save the California Red-Legged Frogs at Antonelli Pond:
(1) Remove invasive weeds from 2 acres of the pond’s perimeter, and replant those areas with native vegetation (e.g. Juncus, Carex, Lupinus, Ribes). This will significantly improve foraging conditions for the red-legged frogs and also enhance the pond’s aesthetic qualities.
(2) Install fish barriers around segments of shoreline in locations of high red-legged frog usage;
(3) Decrease adult bullfrog numbers by 90% by instituting monthly surveys for remnant individuals, which will be removed from the pond area.
(4) Create and erect signage at the two entrances of the pond to educate the public about the threats amphibians face, and the restoration work that was done at the pond.
(5) Create an educational short-film documenting the work that was done to restore Antonelli’s Pond and protect the endangered California red-legged frogs. Press releases will also be sent out to relevant journalists to bring media attention to our work.
The California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii) is the largest native frog in the western United States. Due to their large size, they were nearly eaten to extinction by the California gold miners in the 19th century. They are currently listed as Federally Threatened. Though the California Red-Legged Frogs no longer have to fear the fork, they face numerous other threats, including habitat loss, infectious diseases, and predation by introduced fishes and non-native American Bullfrogs. Learn more about California Red-Legged Frogs here.
In December 2010, Patagonia awarded SAVE THE FROGS! $5,000 for our project “Restoring Habitat for Endangered California Red-Legged Frogs in Santa Cruz County”.
We need your help to save the California Red-Legged Frogs at Antonelli Pond! We will be having monthly cleanup/re-planting events at Antonelli Pond, and your help would be appreciated.
Here is a schedule of upcoming events:
January 16th, 2012 (MLK Day):
Please join us and help us remove non-native weeds to improve the frog's upland habitat. We will be there rain or shine, from 9am to 12pm! Please contact us to RSVP!
All ages are welcome. Wear layered clothing for changing weather. Long pants, long sleeves, leather gloves and sturdy shoes will protect you from blackberry thorns and occasional poison oak. Consider hat, sunscreen, and raingear depending on the weather. We'll provide light snacks and water from which you can refill your bottle. Bring your own bottle for water and extra food if you want. We'll provide some tools, but if you have pruning tools or folding saws, you'll find them useful. We should have extra gloves if you do not have a pair.
If your class or community group would like to help, please let us know!
Antonelli Pond is on the west side of Santa Cruz, near the Long Marine Lab and Natural Bridges State Beach. From Highway 1, take Swift Street to Delaware Avenue. Turn right on Delaware and park once you see the pond, which will be on your right. We meet at the south side of the pond (right near where you just parked!).
Thanks to the 40 volunteers of all ages who came out on MLK Day to help us remove non-native English Ivy under the warm Santa Cruz sunshine!
Twenty elementary school kids from Alternative Family Education and their parents helped us remove invasive English Ivy.
25 dedicated volunteers came out in the cold rain and helped us remove English Ivy, poison hemlock and thistle.
50 dedicated volunteers from Natural Bridges Green Careers High School and elsewhere helped us remove non-native weeds and collect seeds to plant at the pond in the fall.
Photos coming soon! Thanks to the 60 University of Pacific freshman who helped out!
Thirty volunteers helped plant native vegetation to improve upland habitat for California Red-Legged Frogs...we planted 180 plants!
Thanks to the 15 students from the Natural Bridges Green Careers High School who helped us install fish exclusion fences to prevent non-native fish from eating the California Red-Legged Frog egg masses!