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RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 16) - The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is looking for a few good ears.

Volunteers are needed to help the Commission monitor frog and toad populations statewide through the North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program. The program, now in its second year of implementation, has 64 survey routes across the state. Volunteers adopt a route, which they agree to drive three nights out of the year while listening for frogs and toads. Along each route are 10 stops where volunteers pause for a 5-minute period to listen and write down all the frog and toad calls they hear. The data they collect will then be compiled and used to assess trends in frog and toad populations in North Carolina and the Southeast.

Surveys will be conducted during the following time periods: Jan. 15-Feb. 28; March 15-April 30; May 15-June 30. Volunteers will conduct at least one survey on their route within each of the three time periods.

The volunteers will receive a packet with monitoring materials and instructions. Free training workshops will be held periodically to assist volunteers in running their routes. In addition, volunteers who complete their surveys will receive a free copy of the upcoming Frogs and Toads of North Carolina CD and booklet being produced by the Commission.

"Anyone with an interest in the frogs and toads and a willingness to learn their calls and run three surveys a year is encouraged to participate," said Kendrick Weeks, a wildlife technician with the Commission.

A world-wide decline in frogs and toads has prompted the U.S. Geological Survey to administer the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, of which the Calling Amphibian Survey Program is a participating member. North American Amphibian Monitoring Program developed an online database that allows state coordinators, volunteers and the public to interact directly by learning frog calls, taking frog call quizzes, entering data and downloading route information. For more information, visit their Web site at www.pwrc.usgs.gov/naamp/.

The Commission launched its Calling Amphibian Survey Program in 2006. Although less than half the routes were run in the first year, the Commission already has collected important information about species distributions.

For instance, the common gray tree frog, unlike its name implies, is rare in North Carolina. It was once thought to occur only in the north central Piedmont counties bordering Virginia; however, through Calling Amphibian Survey Program volunteers, this species has now been documented in the western Piedmont.

"Future analyses of data will enable Commission biologists to monitor population trends and direct conservation and research efforts where they're needed most," Weeks said.

For more information about becoming a Calling Amphibian Survey Program volunteer, contact Weeks at [email protected]. To find out more information about CASP, visit the N.C. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation website at www.ncparc.org.
 
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