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Save The Frogs Day: April 25th, 2015

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Restoring Amphibian Habitat at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

Re-Frogging America Homepage | Wetland Construction Workshops | Thank You To These Donors

December 2015 Wetlands Restoration Workshop

On December 2nd and 3rd, 2015, SAVE THE FROGS! conducted a Wetlands Restoration Workshop at the beautiful Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. At the workshop, we taught about the design, construction and restoration of wetlands, with a specific focus on improving habitat for endangered amphibians such as California Red-Legged Frogs, California Tiger Salamanders and Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamanders. We designed three wetlands, built a wetland and had presentations by four biologists.

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

The course was led by:
-- Dr. Kerry Kriger (SAVE THE FROGS! Founder & Executive Director)
-- Tom Biebighauser (Wetland Expert, Center for Wetland & Stream Restoration)
-- Corey Hamza (Elkhorn Slough Restoration Ecologist)
-- Kathlyn Franco (SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Coordinator)

"We really enjoyed the seminar yesterday and got a lot out of it! Hats off to you, Kerry, Tom and all the others who helped! I'm sure that sometimes it must feel like an uphill battle, but you guys are really doing the right things! Keep it up!"
— Ruth Van Sciver

"Hi Kerry, Thank you so much for the great workshop. I loved it, learned a lot, and I'm inspired. Thanks again and I hope your projects today and tomorrow are great. Regards, Kristi van Greunen"

"The Elkhorn workshops were terrific - thanks very much for putting it together."
- Erik Blomquist Teacher at Aromas School

The pond we built

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

save the frogs workshop

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frogs

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

A restoration success story

In 2014, Elkhorn Slough Restoration Ecologist Corey Hamza attended a SAVE THE FROGS! Wetland Construction Workshop. A month later, he restored this wetland that had been dry for years. The wetland is now home to two endangered species: California Tiger Salamanders and Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamanders. These were the first California Tiger Salamanders ever found on Elkhorn Slough property, and the first Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamanders since the pond dried in 2011.

Elkhorn Slough pond

Elkhorn Slough pond cts


Topics covered during the workshop

During the Wetland Restoration Workshop participants:

(1) Learned about three different types of wetlands you can build: ground water fed, surface water fed, or those using pesticide-free liners;

(2) Visited recently constructed ponds (such as the one below) to assess their success and plant native vegetation;

(3) Visited several potential wetland sites (such as the site shown below) and design wetlands to be built in 2016;

(4) Learned about building small backyard wetlands by hand and larger wetlands with heavy machinery;

(5) Learned about the three endangered amphibian species that live in the vicinity of the Elkhorn Slough;

(6) Learned about permitting procedures related to wetland construction and restoration;

(7) Learned about SAVE THE FROGS! worldwide amphibian conservation efforts including our efforts to Re-Frog America;

(8) Learned about the history of wetland drainage in the USA and how you can apply that knowledge to your restoration efforts (ditches like the one below leave clues to past modifications of wetlands);

(9) Met lots of amphibian biologists, wetland experts, environmental educators and fellow conservationists.

Designing a wetland near the visitor center

Behind the Elkhorn Slough is a large field covered by invasive weeds. Our group designed a large wetland in the field that we plan to build in 2016.

class wetlands

elkhorn pond

elkhorn pond

elkhorn pond

elkhorn pond

elkhorn wetlands

wetlands construction


wetland restoration


Thanks to Chris Berry for these photos:Elkhorn Slough wetland

Elkhorn Slough wetland

Elkhorn Slough wetland

Elkhorn Slough wetland

Elkhorn Slough wetland


wetland workshop

Elkhorn Slough workshop

wetland presentation

elkhorn slough

Designing a wetland in the Elkhorn lowlands



wetland design

wetland workshop frogs

Designing a wetland on a ridge

Elkhorn Slough frog pond

wetland designing

wetland design

SAVE THE FROGS! in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Monterey Herald

Thanks to Brendan Tate for highlight our efforts to Re-Frog America in his article Activist: Re-frog America, build a sanctuary.

"Hello Dr. Kriger,
I enjoyed the recent article in the Herald about your efforts in Elkhorn Slough Reserve on building and restoring habitat as well as your energies directed towards educating students. Would you be interested in speaking at a local garden club in Marina about your work and perhaps how to build habitat in a garden setting for amphibians? You look like a pretty busy guy from the Save The Frogs website!"
— Juli Hofmann

"Saw the article and wanted to send you a note of appreciation :-)
I have a degree in microbiology and have been pursuing ecologically cleaned ponds for over 20 years in order to provide habitat for many of the small aquatic animals that have lost close to 99% of their habitat. Excellent!"
-- Bob

Thank You to these amazing donors!

Thanks to these donors for helping us make SVE THE FROGS! wetlands a reality!

-- LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
-- Nature's Path Envirokidz Cereal
-- Norcross Wildlife Foundation