Thursday 18 February 2016
By Ginninderry Project Team

We have teamed up with the Ginninderra Catchment Group to help sponsor a West-Belconnen Branch of The Frogwatch Census, the highly successful annual frog monitoring program.

Photo credit: Anke Maria Hoefer

Frogs are a key part of the world’s ecosystem, serving as important indicators of environmental health. However, across Australia frogs are the most endangered animal group, and the current rate of their decline representing a huge threat to biodiversity.

Limnodynastis tasmaniensis frog found in West Belconnen. Photo credit: John Wombey

Limnodynastis tasmaniensis frog found in West Belconnen. Photo credit: John Wombey

Local conservation plays an important role in Ginninderry’s sustainability vision. The conservation corridor, as part of the development, demonstrates the team’s commitment to protecting the unique ecological features of Ginninderry.

This commitment has also been driving the project’s partnership with Frogwatch. This citizen science program, which has been running since 2002, engages over 200 volunteers each year to monitor frog populations in the ACT and surrounding region. It also runs programs that educate school and community groups about frogs and their role in the natural world.  Over the past 14 years over 4000 surveys have been added to the data base which represents a rare long-term study on frog population dynamics in an urbanised landscape.

In our partnership with Frogwatch we joined forces to build a strong sense of community in West-Belconnen by fostering social interactions, offering an engaging and fun activity and working towards a common goal.

Photo credit: Anke Maria Hoefer

Photo credit: Anke Maria Hoefer

During October 2015, the Frogwatch Program ran a volunteer drive in the West Belconnen area to encourage awareness of local natural assets and offering the opportunity to participate in frog monitoring in the area.  Training events were held in which volunteers learnt all about the when, why, where and how of safe frogwatching. The project attracted and engaged 25 new volunteers.

Frogwatch also ran its Frogwatch Census, coordinating the monitoring, collection and verification of frog data, as well as providing an analysis of frog abundance and occurrence in the West Belconnen area.   Volunteers undertook the surveys, which were checked and verified by the Frogwatch Coordinator. Five frog species were detected in the project area.

The Frogwatch Census provides the only information about ACT Regions frogs and feeds into one of the few long-term data sets on frogs in an urbanised landscape.

Building the project’s partnership with Frogwatch will help local frogs to survive in what was once their natural habitat – our backyards.