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Ecological Projects >> Truckee River >> Amphibian Surveys – Lower Truckee River, NV

Project:  Amphibian Surveys – Lower Truckee River, NV

Client:  None

Date:  2001-2010

Site Location:  Lower Truckee River, Vista to Pyramid Lake

A native amphibian species, the male Pacific chorus inflates its throat as it sings in a pond at night on the Truckee River.
A native amphibian species, the male Pacific chorus inflates its throat as it sings in a pond at night on the Truckee River.
Project Summary:
Otis Bay Ecological Consultants conducted several independent amphibian studies, with a focus on the northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens). Oxbow pond and wet meadow habitats along the Truckee River became fragmented and lost over the past century as agricultural land practices and stream flood control projects transformed the landscape. As natural wetland habitats disappeared, native amphibian populations also declined. The once very common northern leopard frog became so rare that only one population was verified on 2001 surveys. A few other, small nearby populations were documented by Otis Bay staff in the following years, and the pond habitats where these native frog populations were found were characterized so that Otis Bay could incorporate leopard frog habitat needs in wetland restoration designs. Wetland ponds were created on the McCarran Ranch, a Nature Conservancy property located on the lower Truckee River downstream of Reno, and these ponds included sloping banks and variable depths with vegetated areas to accommodate the northern leopard frog and other native amphibians. Northern leopard frogs were transplanted to McCarran Ranch ponds in 2005, and pit-trap, visual, and auditory surveys tracked this initial transplant effort. Otis Bay sponsored a follow-up genetics study of northern leopard frogs on the Truckee and Carson Rivers that was completed and published as a University of Nevada, Reno master’s graduate thesis.
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