Mudpuppy Rescue and Rally
both the Mudpuppy rescue effort and rally went well last night. Thanks go to Ira Powsner and all his efforts to raise public awareness of the impacts of lampricides on Mudpuppies. So, far his petition has received over 1000 signatures that have been forwarded to Secretary Moore of ANR. There were about 30-40 people at his event. He also generated some excellent coverage on Vt Digger (two days ago) and VPR, WCAX, and an independent journalist were at the rally. Thanks to everyone on this list who turned out and/or signed the petition.
After Ira’s rally, about 24 people organized by Steve Parren and Mark Ferguson (both non-game biologists with Vermont Fish and Wildlife) headed out in canoes and kayaks to rescue Mudpuppies that were stunned by the treatment. We found them floating near the surface. We netted about 30 Mudpuppies (mostly very young) and transferred them to buckets with aerated clean water. It appeared to me that of these, about 1/3 died, but I do not have the final numbers. My crew finished up around 11:30 but some boats were on the water until around 2 PM this morning. Those Mudpuppies that survive will be released above the treatment area in hopes that they will establish a new population above Arrowhead Dam. Non-target mortality surveys will take place today in about 5% of the river.
I have attached a couple photos of young Mudpuppies. They are shaped the same as the adults, but they are striped rather that spotted. Notice the large external gills. They are what make them particularly susceptible to lampricides. In one photo, you will also see a rescued Green Frog tadpole. It is a large tadpole about 5 inches long.
Only six Eastern Red-backed Salamanders were found during our monitoring efforts yesterday morning, so amphibian population monitoring at both Mt. Mansfield and Lincoln will be wrapping up soon. Still, I expect to get out for a couple more night-time road searches in the valley during warm rain events and other reports continue to come in. Reports of DeKay’s Brownsnakes, Red-bellied Snakes, Spotted Salamanders, and Eastern Red-backed Salamanders came in during the last week.