LAMP Participant Guidance

Phase II - Fixed Sites

Phase I of LAMP went into operation in 1997 with the establishment and running of randomly selected calling amphibian survey routes throughout the state. Phase I is now gathering momentum with the addition of more routes and will continue indefinitely, becoming an invaluable source of information on amphibian population trends.

Now LAMP is adding Phase II to its arsenal of data gathering. Phase II will consist of calling amphibian surveys at fixed sites. These sites may be wetlands associated with schools, nature centers or other institutions or wetlands in parks, national forests, wildlife management areas or even on private lands. The only criteria for establishing a site are 1) that it be a wetland used by frogs and/or toads for breeding, 2) that monitoring be done with the knowledge and permission of the landowner, and 3) that volunteers be available to monitor the site.

How will Phase II work?

As an example, let’s say the staff of a nature center wants to participate by monitoring a wetland on their facility’s property. They have received a package consisting of this guidance document, a site description form and a data entry form from the state LAMP coordinators (LAMP Central). The new volunteers will first fill out the site description form and copy it to LAMP Central. This will ensure that the areas being monitored are the same from year to year and the description will serve as the baseline assessment should the habitat change over time.

There are eight items to complete on the site description form. "Site name" will usually just be the name of the facility or area such as "Anytown Nature Center" or "Anyplace State Park." The site name may need to be more specific, especially if several wetlands on the site will be monitored, as in "Anytown Nature Center-north pond" and "Anytown Nature Center-swamp boardwalk." "Parish" and "Nearest Town" are self explanatory. "Author" is the name of the person writing the site description and "Date of Description" is the date it is completed.

"General location of site" should be explicit directions which would enable anyone unfamiliar with the institution or area to find their way to it. "Specific location of amphibian breeding site" should enable anyone unfamiliar with the site to walk right to it and should eventually include GPS coordinates. Some of the characteristics to be included in "description of breeding site" are given on the form. The description should give someone who has never visited the site an accurate, detailed mental picture of the site. Photographs of the site, preferably showing seasonal changes, should be sent in along with the site description form. Should changes occur to the site to the extent that the description no longer conveys an accurate mental image, the description should be updated.

At this point in the process, the monitoring site is established and ready to be surveyed. When to survey a fixed site is the same as for the survey routes: three times per year, one night each in Winter, early Spring, and late Spring/early Summer. This is the minimum number of nights desired. Should volunteers have the time and inclination to monitor their sites for calling amphibians every night of the year, LAMP would gladly accept their data. Consistency in the timing of surveys is important. For example, a site should not be surveyed at the beginning of January, the end of March, and not at all in May during one year and then at the end of January, the beginning of March, and six times in May during the following year if it can be helped. Nights following significant rain events should be chosen to conduct surveys. Surveyors should, ideally, arrive at their site just before dark to minimize disturbance and maximize safety. The actual survey should begin just after dark. How long to survey is up to the volunteers but should be recorded on the data sheet and probably should be at least one half hour.

The general procedure for conducting a survey at a fixed site is much the same as for a survey route except that there is only one "stop" instead of 10. All frogs and toads heard during the time of the survey should be recorded by checking the appropriate abundance code box(es) next to the species name. Code 1 is for one or two animals calling, code 2 is for several animals calling with each animal audibly distinct from the others, and code 3 is a full chorus in which individuals would be impossible to count. If the frogs/toads begin at a code 1 level but work up to a code 3 chorus, all three boxes may be checked and the situation may be mentioned in the "notes" section of the data sheet. Please fill in as much of the data sheet as possible. Copies of completed data sheets should be sent in to:

LAMP Central:
Steve Shively
Calcasieu Ranger District, Kisatchie National Forest
9912 Hwy 28 West
Boyce, LA 71409
steveshively@fs.fed.us
Phone: 318/793-9427 FAX 318/793-9430

Jeff Boundy
LDWF, P.O. Box 98000 Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000
jboundy@wlf.la.gov
Phone: 225/765-2815 FAX 225/765-2818

Data sheets may be sent one at a time soon after each survey is completed or all together at the end of the survey season (June).

Equipment Needed to Conduct Surveys

  • Rubber Boots - The survey environment might be wet.
  • Flashlight - Useful for making notes, identifying specimens or for emergencies.
  • Thermometer - To document air and water temperatures of survey environment.
  • Pencil - To record survey data
  • Protable recording device - To record calls for later verification.

Birds

There is considerable interest in declining populations of night-calling birds. Any of theses heard during surveys should be recorded by name and number on the data sheet. A partial list of these birds includes:

 

3570  Great Horned Owl 4200  Common Nighthawk
0373  Eastern Screech Owl 2280 Woodcock
3680  Barred Owl 4160  Chuck-will's-widow

 

YOUR PARTICIPATION IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THIS EFFORT. THANKS AND GOOD LUCK!