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Byron Shire
January 29, 2022

Creating a frog habitat isn’t so hard…

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Emma Stone at Rocky Creek near Dunoon. Photo supplied.
Emma Stone at Rocky Creek near Dunoon. Photo supplied.

Native frogs are returning to restored waterways around Rocky Creek Dam after a project led by Landcare members with the aid of Southern Cross University researchers  Dr David Newell, Dr John Grant and Rosalie Willacy.

The team recorded a range of amphibian calls on automated recording devices and found that even after just two years frogs were returning to sites that had been worked on.

‘We found greater frog species richness in the native regenerated areas of 20 years,’ said project leader  Emma Stone of Whian Whian Landcare.

‘We also found an encouraging range of frog species in sites of recent restoration works. It was a positive sign in that even two years on from restoration works there appears to be a positive impact on the frogs.’

The project team worked primarily with landholders and the Landcare community to install the recording equipment in a range of sites in the Rocky Creek and Branch Creek areas.

‘Now other Landcare groups are interested in the research model and in doing similar surveys of frog species in their river restoration works,’ said Emma.

The catalyst for the project, which started in 2014, was a classroom discussion when Emma was a student enrolled in the Bachelor of Indigenous Studies majoring in Sustainability, at the University’s Lismore campus.

‘Dr David Newell inspired me to develop a project based on a discussion about what impact river restoration works might be having on frogs in the waterways and whether frogs could be an indicator for the health of that environment.’

The University loaned the equipment to the Landcare team, cross-checked the identification records and provided knowledge and expertise at a community forum.

‘This is a case of ‘if you build it they will come,’ said Dr David Newell of the riparian restoration works.

‘Many of our native frogs that live along streams require forested habitats and features such as deep layers of leaf litter. Food sources are also important. In our subtropical climate we get to see the results of plantings relatively quickly and this project has shown us that with a bit of time the frogs will move in.’


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