Wood frogs and spotted salamanders will soon be on the move.
That means volunteers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation will soon be on the watch.
Environmentalists said last week that after the ground thaws in late winter and early spring, amphibians emerge from underground winter shelters in forest areas. They begin walking overland to woodland pools for breeding.
That's when the small creatures need a little help. Volunteers throughout the Hudson Valley, wearing reflective vests, rain gear, and carrying clipboards, will serve as crossing guards when the migrations begin.
In New York’s Hudson Valley, officials say, salamanders, frogs, spring peepers, American toads and others will be active on rainy nights from mid-March into early April. The night air temperature must be above 40 degrees for the evening strolls.
On "big night” migrations, volunteers can expect to see hundreds of amphibians trying to cross roads. Motorists may not see the creatures. The DEC is asking motorists to watch out for them.
Drivers should proceed with caution, environmentalists say, or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season.
Officials say amphibians move slowly; mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads.
Since the DEC's Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project started in 2009, volunteers have counted at least 5,700 migrating amphibians killed by passing vehicles.
More than 370 project volunteers have counted 20 species of amphibians and helped nearly 12,000 cross roads.
“Amphibians contribute to a healthy, functioning ecosystem and during this time of year, road mortality can pose a significant threat to our frogs, toads, and salamanders,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
“DEC is grateful to the hundreds of volunteer partners that venture out each year to help protect New York’s amphibians," Seggos added. "I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors traveling the state’s roads to be on the lookout for amphibians and consider working with our committed community of volunteers helping these creatures to safely cross the road.”