Leaping into action for frogs

KURANDA ENVIROCARE’S NEW PROJECT TO HELP ENDANGERED FROGS

More help is on its way for the critically endangered Kuranda tree frog.

Community organisation Kuranda Envirocare is launching a new project, surveying more creeks and training extra volunteers thanks to a recently announced Engaging Science Grant from the Queensland Government.

The new initiatives come on the tenth anniversary of the organisation’s ‘Frog-Friendly Waterways’ citizen science program, and at a time when the Kuranda tree frog is facing ongoing threats from urbanisation and related changes to creek hydrology.

Monitoring with acoustic recorders

Project coordinator Edward Bell said acoustic recorders would be used to bring more creeks into the monitoring program.

“These will enable us to survey larger and more remote areas, ensuring we have the best available information on where the Kuranda tree frog is surviving,’’ he said.

About the Kuranda tree frog

The Kuranda tree frog, or Litoria myola, is only known to live in a handful of creeks that flow into the Barron River. Discovered in 2007, its biggest threats are habitat clearing along creek lines and hydrological disturbances to creek beds.

Kuranda Envirocare president Cathy Retter said volunteers had been regularly monitoring frog populations for nine years with researchers from James Cook University, and also working with landholders to revegetate creek lines in key areas for the species.

Revegetation work

“More than five kilometres of creek and riverbanks have been successfully revegetated, and this will continue into the future,’’ she said.

“With our new project, we are looking forward to working with more volunteers and training them in the use of detectors and water quality monitoring equipment, and in analysis of acoustic data.”

Kuranda tree frog

The Engaging Science grant will be used to employ a coordinator to lead and grow the existing frog-monitoring and water quality programs, train new volunteers, run the new project and host free ‘Meet the Scientist’ talks and other seminars on biodiversity and citizen science in the broader Wet Tropics region.

Important role of communities in threatened species recovery

James Cook University’s Dr Conrad Hoskin said the project was a great example of the important role communities played in the survival of endangered species occurring outside protected areas.

“The survival of some species in Queensland comes down to the actions of the communities they occur in,’’ he said.

Become a volunteer citizen scientist

To become a volunteer citizen scientist with Kuranda Envirocare, email Edward Bell at kuranda.envirocare.science@gmail.com, or learn more at www.envirocare.org.au/kuranda-tree-frog and the organisation’s Facebook page.

Become a Terrain NRM member

Terrain NRM is a community-based membership organisation. Kuranda Envirocare is one of 80+ members in a network of partners involved in natural resource management in the Wet Tropics. Members have voting rights at our annual general meetings.
Find out more here.

Kuranda tree frog image: Edward Evans

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