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Neithercut Management Plan. Central Michigan University BIO 541 Wildlife Mangement Fall 2009. Presented by: Caitlyn Bifoss, Jessa Napieralski , Justin Gale, Jacob King. Introduction. Herps of Neithercut Woodland Rana sylvatica Pseudacris crucifer Chrysemys picta Emydoidea blandingii.
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Neithercut Management Plan Central Michigan University BIO 541 Wildlife Mangement Fall 2009 Presented by: Caitlyn Bifoss, Jessa Napieralski , Justin Gale, Jacob King
Introduction • Herps of Neithercut Woodland • Rana sylvatica • Pseudacris crucifer • Chrysemys picta • Emydoidea blandingii
Rana sylvatica – Wood Frog • Member of the Ranidae family • Broad North American distribution extending from the Southern Appalachians to the Boreal Forest • Brown, tan, or rust colored with yellow/green belly • Can easily be distinguished by its dark colored eye mask that resembles a “robber’s mask”
Rana sylvatica – Wood Frog • Habitat • Commonly found in woodlands during summer months • During winter months commonly found under stones, stumps, and leaf litter • Feeding • Feed on a variety of small, forest-floor invertebrates by catching prey through the use of tongue extension • Tadpole R. sylvatica feeds on plant detritus, algae, and also consume eggs and larvae of other amphibians
Rana sylvatica – Wood Frog • Reproduction • Seasonal breeders that begin to breed in vernal pools/wetlands very early in the spring, usually beginning as early as March and are the first frogs to begin calling • Incubation lengths for eggs vary depending on temperature • Egg mass measures about 10 to 13 cm in diameter, and can contain 1000 to 3000 eggs
Rana sylvatica – Wood Frog • Freeze-Tolerance • Shows unique ability to hibernate close to the surface in soil/leaf litter and can tolerate many freeze-thaw events • Elevated amounts of PGKI, one of the ATP-generating reactions of glycolysis • Freezing of blood and other tissues take place
Pseudacris crucifer – Spring Peeper Characteristics • Chorus Frog – high pitched “peep” sounded once per second • ~ 22mm in length • Dark “X” on the back with cream colored belly • Males are slightly smaller than females
Pseudacris crucifer – Spring Peeper • Habitat • Most abundant chorus frog in Michigan • Found in primarily deciduous woodland, marshes, swamps, sphagnum bogs, and vernal pools. • Burrow in soil, fallen trees and leaf litter. • Feeding • Tadpoles feed mainly on algae • Adults feed on small insects
Pseudacris crucifer – Spring Peeper • Reproduction • Sexually mature by year one • Males establish breeding sites and reside in them from as early as late March all the way to early May. • Once in amplexus, both sexes dive to bottom of vernal pool and deposit eggs individually on debris and leaf litter. • Females lay between 700-1200 eggs • Larvae metamorphosis takes 2-3 months after which leaves the pond for the remainder of life cycle
Pseudacris crucifer – Spring Peeper • Range • Wide distribution in Eastern North America • Relatively common species that inhabits most anywhere in Michigan, including Neithercut Woodland
The Painted Turtle: Chrysemys picta • Most widely distributed • Brightly marked • Four subspecies • C. picta marginata • C. picta picta • C. picta dorsalis • C. picta belli
Reproduction • Courtship activities • Nesting between May-July • Thermal Dependence
Habitat • Shallow ponds or lakes • Slow moving streams • Debris to sun themselves • Travel distances to find more suitable habitat
Emydoidea blandingii - Blanding’s Turtle • Member of the family Emydidae • Located largely in the Great Lakes region. • Truly terrestrial • Dark olive colored carapace with yellow markings • Yellow throat and chin • Hinged plastron
Emydoidea blandingii - Blanding’s Turtle • Habitat • Prefer a diversity of wetland types, shallow water with abundant vegetation • Require sandy, open areas for nesting • Feeding • Aquatic diet: larval amphibians, crustaceans, insects, fish, mollusks, and plants • Terrestrial diet: berries, earthworms, insect larva, slugs, and vegetation
Emydoidea blandingii - Blanding’s Turtle • Reproduction • Mating takes place in the water. • Female turtles lay approximately 3 - 17 eggs in upland habitats, usually between late May and early July. • Eggs hatch between mid-August and early October.
Management Goals & Objectives • Maintain Abundance • Guide fences • Paved road shoulders • Underpasses • Maintain Wetland/Freshwater Habitat • Monitor and control hydroperiods • Monitor pond pH levels • Create corridors connecting neighboring wetlands
Management Goals & Objectives • Limit Disturbances Throughout Habitat • Monitor invasive species/predators • Control use of herbicides around freshwater/wetland habitats • Control chemical pollution
Management Goals & Objectives • Educate Public • No pets • Local seminars
Neithercut Woodland • Named after William Neithercut, • 252-acre natural area with a creek (Elm Creek) running through • Originally owned by Josiah Littlefield during early to mid 1900s • Upon Littlefield’s death in 1936, his decedents held onto the land and ultimately transferred the 252 acres of land to Central Michigan
Current Conditions LAND USE • Located in Farwell of Clare County Michigan • Latitude: 43.857615 Longitude: -084.843785 • 252 Acres with Walkin McNeel Nature Center • Four main trails
Habitat Quality • Good source of diverse habitats. • Wetland/highland mix good for frog breeding and post-breeding seasons along with hibernation. • Other areas in Neithercut have high potential for vernal pools in the spring and into summer. • Elm Creek is slow moving and has potential for flooding leading to needs of all the mentioned species. • Standing water has organic bottom for turtles to feed along with muddy bottom for hibernation.
Management Recommendations • Maintain/Increase Abundance • Because of turtles’ longevity, drastic declines in turtle populations can easily go unnoticed. • Chrysemys picta - maintain population • Emydoidea blandingii -increase population • Prevent Road Mortality • Build underpasses with a diameter larger than .3 m for safe movement to nesting areas. • Pave the shoulders of M-115 to prevent roadside nesting and curb entrapment.
Management Recommendations • Maintain Wetlands/Freshwater Habitat • Stringent monitoring of pools and hydroperiods in Neithercut must be done by controlling the length of the hydroperiods and changes in Neithercut watershed. • Monitor pH of water in order to detect changes biological and chemical components of the pond. • Create corridors encompassing multiple habitats by clear-cutting forest areas that lie in between neighboring wetland areas and vernal pools.
Management Recommendations • Limit disturbances throughout habitat - Control Typha angustifolia and Phragmites australis by flooding, mowing, and burning - Herbicides will not be allowed within 50 meters of wetlands. - A barrier/buffer will be created in order to limit the amount of runoff pollutants from roads.
Management Recommendations • Educate Public • Pools where frogs are breeding and developing should be marked off using mesh barrier fencing (25m circumference). • Seminars will be held at Neithercut. • Informational posters explaining dangers of interacting with some species (Salmonellae).
Evaluation and Monitoring Plans • Drift fences to obtain specific counts of wood frogs and spring peepers. • Egg mass counts. • Surveillance monitoring of turtles from May 1- Oct 1. • Water quality
Issues of Scale in Management Plan • Constructing underpasses and guide fences will take most physical effort • Population/Habitat Surveys • Invasive Species/Predator Control
Timeline (Year One) • Fall • Apply for funding through grant writing. • Send out volunteer interest forms to areas of interest. • Winter • Construct underpasses and/or guide fences, drift fences, and mesh fencing. • Design and print informational posters and pamphlets. • Plan and implement seminar programming for the spring. • Spring • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle. • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle predators (i.e. racoons). • Conduct population surveys of Wood Frog. • Conduct population surveys of Spring Peeper. • Perform runoff sampling. • Summer • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle. • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle predators (i.e. racoons). • Survey drift fencing for Wood Frog. • Survey drift fencing for Spring Peeper. • Provide invasive management control for Phragmites australis and Typha angustifolia. 29
Timeline (Year Two) • Fall • Re-apply for funding through grant writing. • Send out volunteer interest forms to areas of interest. • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle. • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle predators (i.e. racoons). • Survey drift fencing for Wood Frog. • Survey drift fencing for Spring Peeper. • Winter • Contact Clare County Board of Commisioners about road shoulder pavement. • Spring • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle. • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle predators (i.e. racoons). • Conduct population surveys of Wood Frog. • Conduct population surveys of Spring Peeper. • Perform runoff sampling. • Summer • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle. • Conduct population surveys of Painted Turtle predators (i.e. racoons). • Survey drift fencing for Wood Frog. • Survey drift fencing for Spring Peeper. • Provide invasive management control for Phragmites australis and Typha angustifolia. • Begin paving road shoulder of M-115 nearest Neithercut Woodland. 30