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DEC Anticipates Early Amphibian Migration in the Hudson Valley

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One of eight four-toed salamanders (Hemidactylium scutatum) observed crossing a road in the town of Catskill on Feb. 25. Credits: Kelly McKean
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HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. – Unseasonably warm weather may result in “explosive” amphibian migrations earlier than usual, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Typically in March or April, after the ground has started to thaw, species like spotted salamander and wood frog emerge from underground winter shelters in the forest and walk overland to breeding pools. In the Hudson Valley region, this migration occurs on rainy nights when the night air temperature is above 40 degrees. When these conditions align, there can be “big night” migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move, according to the DEC.

The DEC is asking motorists to take caution or avoid travel on these rainy evenings. Amphibians come out after nightfall and are slow moving, meaning mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads.

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Volunteers throughout the state will be documenting the migrations as part of the DEC's Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project. Now in its ninth year, more than 300 project volunteers have assisted more than 8,500 amphibians cross New York roads.

Preliminary reports from volunteers indicate there were small numbers of intrepid salamanders and frogs on the move on Saturday, Feb. 25. That’s almost two weeks earlier than the earliest date of migration activity recorded since the documentation project started in 2009.

For more information, visit Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings on DEC's website or contact woodlandpool@dec.ny.gov. Project volunteers are encouraged to use the hashtag #amphibianmigrationhv in their photos and posts on social media.

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