Dramatic and abrupt declines in northern leopard frog populations starting in the late 1970s have resulted in extirpation of this species from parts of its historic range in western North America. This includes much of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve (WBR) where the frog was historically present along major rivers and tributaries, lakes, springs, and irrigation reservoirs.
As part of the Species at Risk Action Plan for Waterton Biosphere Reserve 2015-2018 the WBR has embarked on a project to support northern leopard frog conservation in the area and we invite YOU to be a part of it !
Waterton Lakes National Park is working toward establishing a self-sustaining northern leopard frog population and frogs have been successfully reintroduced to Beauvais Lake Provincial Park and Magrath in recent years. The WBR Project aims to create public awareness on the importance of northern leopard frogs in our ecosystem and to create opportunities for WBR residents to help improve their status in our area.
We are soliciting local knowledge about past and present northern leopard frog occurrences, identifying possible locations for habitat improvement or future reintroductions, and leveraging interest into opportunities to educate on other amphibian species at risk, associated wetland habitats, and their stewardship in the WBR.
Frogs are important for many reasons:
Beginning in April 2017, the WBR Northern Leopard Frog Project encourages you to submit observations of this important frog and share your stories on where they might be found in the WBR (past or present). Because we know the northern leopard frog numbers are low in this area we are asking that you submit observations of potential habitat for them, where you have seen them in the past, along with actual observations of the frog. This is a straightforward and simple process that can be done by anyone (no special skills required!).
How it works:
When I think about the northern leopard frog I immediately recall my childhood. I spent countless hours in the woods with siblings and cousins, enjoying our family property south of Mountain View where we owned a section of land. Bisecting this property was a meandering creek which was home to a small population of industrious beaver. The series of dams which they maintained created a wetland habitat and for us, a veritable playground in which to explore, fish, swim and of course catch frogs. – submission from Allen Nelson
*Privacy statement* All information collected is confidential and to be used only by the Waterton Biosphere Reserve and other project partners.
To view and print a copy of the submission guidelines (pdf) click here.
The core of the WBR is Waterton Lakes National Park, from there it extends at least as far as the M.D. of Pincher Creek, Cardston County and Crowsnest Pass, including the Piikani and Kainai Reserves, and a portion of the Rocky Mountain Forest Reserve. There are no firm boundaries but this map will give participants a general idea of the area included in the Northern Leopard Frog Project.
If you would like someone to come out and look at your property to see if there are northern leopard frogs present please let us know. We are also asking that anyone with experience in this type of field work who would like to volunteer a few hours to help with identification please get in touch with us.
Stay up to date on the Northern Leopard Frog Project by subscribing to our email list. Future plans for this project include workshops on northern leopard frog stewardship and possible reintroductions.
The above identification information is adapted from information provided by Alberta Environment and Parks.
For more details on the northern leopard frog including similar species, breeding behavior and further details on identification visit the Alberta Parks website.
The Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association’s Northern Leopard Frog Project had a successful second season! Visual surveys and environmental DNA (eDNA) (testing for certain species’ DNA in water samples) were used in search of northern leopard frogs and other amphibians. The focus of the field work was on private lands near Beauvais Lake Provincial Park and Waterton Lakes National Park where northern leopard frog re-establishment efforts are in progress or have been successful, and on other areas with historical records. We are happy to report that northern leopard frogs were found at five sites not previously documented! Five other amphibians that call the Waterton Biosphere Reserve home were also observed: tiger salamander, long-toed salamander, western toad, striped chorus frog, and Columbia spotted frog.
For more information on these amphibians click here.
Thank you to everyone who submitted information on northern leopard frog sightings in the WBR area and to those landowners who allowed us access to your properties. Your support was critical to the success of this project !
We are still welcoming information on northern leopard frog sightings in the WBR and welcome you to contact us.
Discover how you can help support a healthy environment for frogs and other amphibians.