Vernal Pools

Welcome to our Amphibian Crossing Brigade page! If you would like to be kept up to date on the Spring crossing dates, please send your e-mail to agreen@littletonma.org

We have the Amphibian Crossing Brigade Handbook which hopefully will answer most of your questions. We do want to stress that this will be an open road on a rainy night, so while kids are more than welcome, they must have their own flashlights, safety vests, and adults!

We ask that you fill out Consent Forms for both Acton and Littleton and  get them to us ahead of time (a scan is fine). Littleton forms can also be filled out on-line here.

Here are some IDENTIFICATION SHEETS. I'm assuming we will mostly be seeing wood frogs, spring peepers and hopefully spotted salamanders. A Jefferson or blue-spotted salamander would be a huge bonus!

Here is a Data Sheet, which might be hard to handle in the rain, so you can also make up your own way of keeping count. The sites (at least for now) can just be called Fort Pond Road, Arlington Street and Depot Road. Report your counts back to me so I can keep track. BUT, especially along Fort Pond Road, if you find salamanders let me know approximately where you found them (ie near a certain mailbox, ATT easement, Sarah Indian Way...)

If you want more info on vernal pools in general, there is a TON of information on the internet, but you can try the Vernal Pool Association as a start. Mass Audubon also has a lot of info, including the sounds of wood frogs chorusing (quacking!). MACC also has this Vernal Pool slide show that is very good.

Once our spring time work is done and I have your counts, I will be reporting them all together to sites such as this.

2019: On March 29th we had 12 people on Fort Pond Road in Acton and Littleton and we moved 254 frogs and salamanders! On March 31 we had 16 people and we moved 151 frogs and salamanders. Great effort!

2020: Much earlier this year, with many scattered nights. Our two busiest nights were March 3 and March 10. This season volunteers crossed a total of 335 frogs and salamanders. Three vernal pools on the Sarah Doublet property were certified. 

2021: From March 18 to March 28 we crossed 219 wood frogs, 92 spring peppers, 16 spotted salamanders and 2 Jefferson complex salamanders along Fort Pond Road. It was a tough year with little rain despite warm weather so there may have been many more crossings. People expanded  to Arlington Street in Acton which has a pretty high kill rate with over 50 frogs crossed and to Depot Road in Boxborough  with 23 wood frogs and 1 spotted salamander reported.

2022: From March 7 to March 24 we crossed 180 wood frogs (plus 38 dead), 114 spring peepers (plus 18 dead), 13 spotted salamanders (plus 1 dead), 4 Jefferson complex salamanders (plus 1 dead) and 2 red-backed salamanders (plus 1 dead) along Fort Pond. Arlington crossed 18 wood frogs (plus 51 dead), 13 spring peepers (plus 4 dead), 10 spotted salamanders (plus another 10 dead), 3 red backed salamanders and 10 4-toed salamanders. Depot Rd/Boxborough had a tough year with volunteers but crossed 2 wood frogs (plus 12 dead), 42 spring peepers, a spotted salamander (plus 1 dead) and 2 dead red backed salamanders. That's over 400 frogs and salamanders helped across - great work. But over 150 dead observed, so there's always room for more saves next year!

2023 From March 24 to April 6 we helped over 400 animals cross including about 159 wood frogs, 219 peepers, 33 spotted salamanders and 7 Jefferson/blue spotted. Where did all the 4-toed salamanders go?! Over 300 dead frogs and salamanders observed.

Fort Pond (Acton/Littleton) had 118 wood frogs (plus 14 dead), 158 peepers (plus 39 dead), 23 unidentified dead frogs, 19 spotted salamanders (plus 3 dead), 6 Jefferson/blue spotted complex (plus 1 dead).

Arlington (Acton) crossed 1 wood frog, 4 peepers and 1 spotted and had 6 unidentified dead frog and 1 dead spotted.

Depot Road (Boxborough) crossed 29 wood frogs, 24 peepers and one spotted plus about 20 unidentified dead frogs.

Oak Hill (Littleton), new this year, crossed 11 wood frogs, 33 peepers, 13 spotted and one Jefferson, but the big story is they have had well over 200 dead frogs and 30 dead spotted.