As of late we've been keeping on top of our two coverboard monitoring projects. One is the Amphibian and Reptile Survey and the other is the Snake Coverboard Monitoring Project.
Scattered throughout the property are innocent-looking planks of wood that serve as habitats for both salamanders and snakes alike. These reptiles and amphibians prefer the cool, moist habitat that the boards create. The snake boards are set up in a row while the amphibian boards are set up in a grid. Our job for each project is simple: Drive out to the locations, flip the boards, and see what's underneath. We then record the species found at each site.
|Amphibian Coverboards laid out on forest floor|
The ultimate purpose of the amphibian coverboard survey is to keep track of the Jefferson Salamander; an endangered species who's population is declining in the state of Connecticut. This decline is due to the fact that the species is sensitive to habitat fragmentation and disturbances. With this in mind, we want to find out if these salamanders tend to hangout in certain habitats. If they do, we will then be able to focus conservation efforts on these habitats.
When monitoring the snake coverboards, we are not looking for a specific species (though we don't mind finding rare species if they show up). Rather, the goal is to keep track of the snake species diversity on our property. We also want to know where these snakes are generally located and what kinds of habitats they prefer.
We check these boards at least once a month and avoid checking them too frequently. This is because we don't want to inadvertently dissuade these creatures from coming back. So if you happen to run into these boards, we ask that you avoid disturbing them.