Nongame Update from New Hampshire Fish and Game
April 3, 2007


Through the Reptile and Amphibian Reporting Program, volunteers work to help establish records of statewide distributions of reptile and amphibian species by submitting their observations. If possible, photographs of sightings are preferred to verify reports. To find out how to get involved during the 2007 field season, please contact the Wildlife Division at N.H. Fish and Game by phone: 603-271-2461; or email wildlife@wildlife.nh.gov. Following is an update on the program for Spring, 2007:

NH Reptile and Amphibian Reporting Program (RAARP)
It's that time of year again. We had a great reporting year and exciting things are happening in New Hampshire that will benefit our reptile and amphibian populations. Keep up the good work and check out the 2006 summary to see how your reports compared to others.

Remember that pictures and exact locations of sightings are extremely important for biologists to verify your reports. If you are unable to take a photograph, note a description of the size, coloration, distinctive patterns or markings, and habitat. This information substantially increases our success in verifying reports. Recordings or descriptions of their calls are also helpful.

What do we do with your reports?
ALL records get incorporated into a database at NH Fish & Game. These records help biologists determine the distribution of species in New Hampshire. Verified reports of rare species are used for protecting reptiles and amphibians during land-use planning and conservation and help researchers target specific areas to study.

Wildlife Action Plan Completed!
Help is on the way!!!! For the first time in history, state nongame programs across the nation are receiving some dedicated federal funding to protect the species of greatest conservation concern, including reptiles and amphibians. N.H. has completed our first ever Wildlife Action Plan, which identifies threats and conservation strategies to protect our valuable resources. Many reptiles and amphibians and their habitats have been thoroughly evaluated and can be viewed as downloadable .pdf files. Although NHFG hopes to have more funding available for reptile and amphibian conservation, we still need your help. Federal funding requires an equal state match and the N.H. state match comes directly from volunteer contributions to the Nongame Program. For more details on the Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy, see: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Wildlife/wildlife_plan.htm

WHAT'S NEW or COMING??

NHFG Snake Page
:
To assist with identification, NHFG created a web page with information and photographs on snakes. We are in the process of adding web pages for FROGS, SALAMANDERS, and TURTLES. To find these pages, click here.

Reptile and Amphibian Distribution Maps:
We have created distribution maps (based largely on RAARP volunteer observations) for all reptiles and amphibians of New Hampshire. This information, along with photographs and species descriptions, will be posted to our website this Spring. We realize that town maps will not be complete for any species, but these maps will help you to target areas that need additional investigation. Check up on the N.H. Nongame and Endangered Wildlife web page periodically for updates. In an effort to reduce waste, we hope to post all materials on the web. Some material has already been posted including RAARP slips (website). Annual mailings will still occur for those who do not have internet access.

Web-based reporting:
N.H. Fish and Game has received a grant to start developing a web-based reporting program. We hope that volunteers like yourself will be able to report your reptile and amphibian sightings via a user-friendly web reporting program by next spring.

Habitat Management Guidelines for Reptiles and Amphibians
The Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) recently produced "Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Northeastern United States." For more information or to purchase a copy, click to go to www.parcplace.org.

A complimentary copy was mailed to the RAARP volunteer who submitted the greatest number of verified reports for 2006 including a number of rare species reports. Congratulations!!

For additional RAARP packages or questions regarding packages, please contact Rita Boisvert at 603-271-5859.

Electronic reports and photographs can be sent via e-mail to: RAARP@wildlife.nh.gov. If submitting reports via email, please make sure that you provide adequate details on your observations (see format on reporting slips). Attached you will find the 2006 report summary.

It was a GREAT year!!! Thank you for your participation in RAARP and have a great season!

Sincerely,

Michael Marchand
Nongame & Endangered Wildlife Program

Click here for a pdf of this newsletter which includes a chart of 2006 RAARP sightings.

2006 program highlights included:

Frogs/Toads:
Green frogs, American toads, wood frogs, and spring peepers were the most commonly reported frogs. No Mink frogs were reported....again. Mink frogs have a northerly distribution (north of the White Mountains). I encourage our northern NH RAARP volunteers to report this species and if you don't live up north, it would make a great get-away weekend. Listen for their call (sounds like hitting 2 boards together). If you are fortunate to capture one, try to take a good photo!! Mink frogs can look very similar to our more common green frog. We need verified reports of Leopard frogs; photos are crucial!! Many reports of Leopard frogs turn out to be Pickerel frogs. Focus searches during late summer in floodplains, fields, and agricultural areas along rivers.

Salamanders:
Salamanders to keep a look out for in the next year:

  • Jefferson and blue-spotted salamanders - breed in vernal pools in early spring
  • Four-toed salamanders - Associated with sphagnum wetlands. This species can be difficult to locate.
  • Marbled salamander - State endangered species; Be sure to take a photo if you come across one of these and call NHFG ASAP.
  • Spring & dusky salamanders - live in/near streams and seeps.

Turtles:
One of the best results of the year was the number of Blanding's, spotted, and wood turtles reported. Excellent job!!! Eastern box turtles are difficult to verify because of the number of released pets over the years (It is now illegal to possess Eastern Box, Blanding's, spotted, and wood turtles as pets in New Hampshire). We are on the lookout for our first population of Box turtles. Keep a lookout for red-eared sliders and other non-native turtles. Non-native turtles can compete with our native species and potentially introduce diseases. Pet turtles should NEVER be released into the wild.

Snakes:
Hognose snakes are state threatened and their sandy habitat continues to be developed in southern New Hampshire. To protect this species, we need to document the best places where it still occurs. The timber rattlesnake, black racer, ribbon snake and smooth green snake are the other snakes in the greatest need of additional reports....but all snakes are underrepresented and need more reports. Check out the SNAKE page (click here) on the New Hampshire Fish and Game website to help with identification .

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