Frog Project Initiates New Research

By Undergraduate Research Associate Dennis Aubrey

From left: SPP Research Associate Dennis Aubrey, WDFW Senior Biologist Marc Hayes and a CCCC offender measure the frogs' growth and health.

Over the winter inmates in SPP’s Oregon Spotted Frog (OSF) program at Cedar Creek Corrections Center (CCCC) have been caring for frogs from Northwest Trek, the Oregon Zoo, and the Woodland Park Zoo that were too small or unhealthy for release into the wild. The frogs have thrived under the offender’s constant care and are slated for release late this winter. By caring for the undersized frogs, CCCC has helped the zoos save money and staff time as they prepare for the new frog rearing season and tend to the many species of animals in their care.  The experience has also provided more hands-on science training for offenders.

The CCCC frog program is expanding its rearing space from one tank to four and will accept twice as many frog eggs this season. Using four tanks will allow side-by-side comparison of frogs from two locations, Conboy Lake and the Black River. Conboy Lake frogs may grow larger and faster due to their exposure to invasive bullfrogs.

These Oregon Spotted Frogs show healthy growth and will be released this winter.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Biologist Marc Hayes suggested the comparative study at CCCC to to test this hypothesis and its implications for frog conservation. Partnering with SPP allows graduate students and offenders the unique opportunity to participate in this research.

To help reduce costs and the carbon footprint of the program, the SPP OSF team has also expanded and improved cricket breeding at CCCC.  After many trials and errors, and incorporating tips provided by experts, SPP staff and offenders are now creating a cricket husbandry manual.  The manual will be used to train the next group of offenders and students working on the project and may also help other facilities interested in sustainable source of crickets.

4 Comments:

  1. Reyn Mager

    What a wonderful project. This is the type of effort that has a much larger impact than we can initially imagine. I am so glad these animals are being released into the wild, are being helped by the residents of CCCC as part of the SPP, and are being bred and cared for by the ecological research team at Evergreen State College. Keep up the great work and GO CRICKETS!!

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  2. Curt Aubrey

    Seeing the importance in natures finer details can only improve the outlook of the CCCC residents. Programs like this should be expanded into lots of other projects and could save the US vast amounts of money.

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