UNLSH is monitoring the response of a Northern Redlegged Frog population to restoration efforts at Drew Lake in the Umpqua National Forest. Volunteers Tess Kohler, Matt Hunter, and UNLSH president Cindy Haws conducted an eggmass survey after 4 years of effort to remove non-native bullhead fish and bull frogs. The good news is that the number of the native frog eggmasses increased from just 4 to 5 annually to 63 this year! The wetland restoration project is in its final year and is a partnership between Umpqua National Foreset, South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership, and UNLSH.
In addition to the Drew Lake wetland project, UNLSH volunteers are working with landowner Susan Applegate and conservation biologist Jade Keehn of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct pond breeding amphibian surveys to monitor the progress of restoring the function of the wetland for native species. Susan has spent several years planting native wetland and riparian shrubs to provide habitat diversity and structure for nesting Western Pond Turtles. With these shrubs now well established, the area is on its way becoming a healthy functioning wetland ecosystem once again. The next step will be to work on removing the invasive bass and bullfrogs from the Applegate Wetland, which are not native to the area and have impacted the population of native pond breeding amphibians.
There is abundant life in a wetland, as you can see from the photos of young sugar pine and douglas fir trees growing out of a legacy tree bole. When ancient trees are left in their habitat to decay they are able to support new plant growth, diverse insect communities, and in turn birds and other wildlife. Keystone species such as beaver have become continuous residents in the Applegate Wetland.