Floodplain ponds and wetlands are productive and biodiverse ecosystems. Protecting and restoring floodplain ecosystems requires understanding how organisms use these habitats and respond to altered environmental conditions.
Researchers modeled occupancy of six amphibian species across 103 off-channel aquatic habitats in the Chehalis River floodplain in Washington State. Despite potential threats from reduced forest cover and reduced river-wetland connections, floodplain habitats had relatively high rates of native amphibian occupancy. The biggest challenge appears to be non-native centrarchid fishes, which strongly reduced occupancy of the northern red-legged frog and the northwestern salamander. Both temporary and permanent hydroperiod sites supported different species. Emergent vegetative cover may counter the negative effect of centrarchids by providing refuge from predation. Additionally, researchers found evidence that pond construction offers a viable strategy for adding habitats to the floodplain landscape. This study was designed to inform aquatic restoration and management options for native amphibians in alluvial floodplains.
Holgerson, M., Duarte, A., Hayes, M.P., Adams, M.J., Tyson, J.A., Douville, K., Strecker, A., 2019, Floodplains provide important amphibian habitat despite multiple ecological threats: Ecosphere, https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2853
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