Timing of water important for frog breeding

Posted 16 March 2020.

Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) wetlands team are currently monitoring the native plant and animal responses to the delivery of water for the environment into temporary wetlands across the Riverland.

Natural Resources SAMDB wetlands project officer Stephanie Robinson said our monitoring is showing the temporary wetlands that have received environmental water is sustaining habitat and generating food resources for frog and tadpole breeding.

“Delivering water for the environment over spring and summer is vital to ensure that wetland habitat conditions are ideal for frogs and other species to breed and grow.

“Many wetlands are not connected to the River Murray and permanently inundated with water. These temporary floodplain wetlands are at higher elevations and do not receive water unless there is a significant flow with a high water event,” Ms Robinson said.

“These wetlands have suffered severely from the reduced frequency and duration of high water with a significant effect on the aquatic ecology, including impact on the breeding and development of many frog species that rely on a natural flow regime and extended wetland inundation.

The Natural Resources SAMDB wetlands team is currently monitoring tadpole and frog species response across several environmental water pumping sites to confirm and refine the best watering regime for successful recruitment.

“We were able to identify the progressive development stages of tadpoles to frogs for each species and optimise water conditions to ensure a successful breeding-recruitment season.

“The vulnerable southern bell frog (Litoria raniformis) in particular needs the right type of habitat to be wet for a minimum of three months for tadpoles to complete their transformation into juvenile frogs.

A recent tadpole survey, following the delivery of water for the environment at Overland Corner wetland found improved habitat and food resources for the development of the southern bell frog and Peron’s tree frog (Litoria peronii).

The most recent night-time ‘visual’ survey for southern bell frog recorded numbers of young and adult frogs that were many-times greater than usually observed

Overland Corner wetland, located adjacent to the River Murray, immediately downstream of Lock 3 and is part of the cluster of wetlands that surround and extend the Banrock Station Ramsar Wetland site.

The critical environmental water for this initiative was provided by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, and the planning and implementation of this project are supported by the Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnerships initiative of the National Landcare Program and the South Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board and NRM levies.

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