Oregon Spotted Frog Egg Masses Discovered Near Release Site!

By Undergraduate Research Associate Dennis Aubrey

Oregon Spotted Frog egg masses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord indicate SPP's conservation efforts are working.

The most exciting news imaginable came in last week!  Biologist Jim Lynch and his team discovered the first Oregon spotted frog egg masses on Joint Base Lewis-McChord since captive rearing programs were established.

This indicates the overall success of reintroduction efforts so far.  Some of the frogs released have survived to reach sexual maturity, and furthermore have done so in large enough numbers to find one another and successfully reproduce.

The news was greeted with great relief and elation on the part of all four rearing institutions.  Until now we have been diligently working with our partners at the other captive rearing facilities, not knowing what impact the work was having on the local Oregon Spotted Frog population. Egg mass surveys will continue in the next few weeks to assess the extent of breeding success.

SPP research associate Dennis Aubrey releases frogs he raised with inmates at Cedar Creek Corrections Center.

In related news, the frogs which were held over the winter at the OSF facility at Cedar Creek Corrections Center were successfully released on Ft. Lewis. We now know that they joined a waiting population of siblings! Interestingly, it was striking to note the behavioral differences in the frogs at the actual moment of release. When the lids were pulled back on the travel tubs containing the frogs, some immediately scrambled into the water and dove down to instantly bury themselves in the mud, while others were clearly reluctant to depart and had to be hand-coaxed into the cold water. The last few sat on the outstretched hands of SPP research associates Dennis Aubrey and Sarah Weber for several minutes and ultimately had to be dunked and let go before they would swim away.

SPP research associate Sarah Weber coaxes a hesistant frog into its new habitat.

To donate to the SPP Oregon Spotted Frog project and help conserve biodiversity in Washington, click here.


  1. Sue Pruner

    Glad to learn that the project is a success and that some of the incarcerated at Cedar Creek are able to participate in restoring the delicate ecological balance. It must be a great feeling for all involved to participate in such an endeavor. Oregon Spotted Frogs rule!

    Reply to this comment ↓
  2. Micah

    This is an informative article highlighting the importance of coninuous restoration efforts to repopulate a species showing evidence of success. This is a positive movement and I hope it spreads like an epidemic through the states.

    Reply to this comment ↓
  3. lynn tylczak

    My mother-in-law recently died and we are going to inherit 4.41
    acres of undeveloped land on the Skokomish River in Western
    Washington. The land is approximately 1 mile from where the river
    enters Hood Canal. It is in a wet area and stays fairly warm all
    year (little or no snow). It is several miles from any public road and
    nobody goes there. As a memorial to her, we are interested in putting the
    land into a non-profit and creating an environment where the Oregon
    Spotted Frog can propogate undisturbed.

    We are not looking for funding, but we could sure use some advice
    on how to facilitate these frogs. We asked about the invasive
    species and threats to the spotted frog that were noted on your
    website. Nobody in the area had seen bullfrogs or green frogs.
    Since we would need to dig a sufficient swamp hole ourselves
    there should be no problems with fish or reed canarygrass. I don’t
    think poachers would be any problem because the site is well off
    the beaten path and we wouldn’t advertise the fact that it is there
    (although we would string a chain across the makeshift road to
    keep people out).

    How deep/wide should the hole be? Should we allow it to fill with
    rainwater or could we “bucket brigade” in fresh water from the
    Skokomish River? Would frogs likely find the place themselves or
    would we have to get eggs somewhere to get things rolling? If so,
    how/where would we get them? Is there a process we would have
    to follow to prove that we weren’t using the frogs commercially (like
    selling them to pet stores or something)? Is this something the students would like to help with (building, monitoring, etc.)? We also have a house on Hood Canal near the site where students could stay and perhaps we could fund an internship for students over the summer. Would that be of interest?


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