Title

Progress on the Restoration of an Eastern Hellbender Population in the Upper Susquehanna River Watershed

Item Type

Poster

Location

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

Session

Poster session

Start Date

26-10-2018 8:00 PM

End Date

26-10-2018 9:59 PM

Keywords

Susquehanna River, eastern hellbender, restoration ecology, population augmentation, habitat enhancement

Description

Catastrophic flood events, urban development, road and highway construction, industrial discharge, and forestry and agricultural practices have all impacted the ecology of streams and rivers in the Susquehanna River watershed in ways that have restricted, diminished, or eliminated quality habitat for the giant Eastern Hellbender salamander. In addition, crayfish invasions and amphibian disease epidemics have further stressed hellbender populations. The Eastern Hellbender has experienced range-wide local extinctions since the late 1990’s and is currently a candidate species for federal listing as threatened or endangered. In the fall of 2014, fertile hellbender salamander eggs were collected in Pennsylvania and reared by the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo until age 2-1/2 years, then transferred to a newly-constructed rearing lab in central New York. We assessed the growth and health of 100 juvenile hellbenders at the lab on a monthly basis. Three weeks before the release date, we implanted a microchip beneath the skin of each individual. Prior to release, we installed 200 pieces of sedimentary slab rock in the stream channel at the release site to serve as natural habitat. We also constructed and installed 20 artificial habitat structures and wire cages in the stream channel to serve as “soft release” locations. In order to continuously monitor the juveniles following their release, we installed two state-of-the-art solar-driven instream antenna systems at the release site. Following two weeks of acclimation inside the soft release environments, the juveniles were released to the wild and are currently being monitored by instream and hand-held antenna systems.

Language

eng

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Oct 26th, 8:00 PM Oct 26th, 9:59 PM

Progress on the Restoration of an Eastern Hellbender Population in the Upper Susquehanna River Watershed

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

Catastrophic flood events, urban development, road and highway construction, industrial discharge, and forestry and agricultural practices have all impacted the ecology of streams and rivers in the Susquehanna River watershed in ways that have restricted, diminished, or eliminated quality habitat for the giant Eastern Hellbender salamander. In addition, crayfish invasions and amphibian disease epidemics have further stressed hellbender populations. The Eastern Hellbender has experienced range-wide local extinctions since the late 1990’s and is currently a candidate species for federal listing as threatened or endangered. In the fall of 2014, fertile hellbender salamander eggs were collected in Pennsylvania and reared by the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo until age 2-1/2 years, then transferred to a newly-constructed rearing lab in central New York. We assessed the growth and health of 100 juvenile hellbenders at the lab on a monthly basis. Three weeks before the release date, we implanted a microchip beneath the skin of each individual. Prior to release, we installed 200 pieces of sedimentary slab rock in the stream channel at the release site to serve as natural habitat. We also constructed and installed 20 artificial habitat structures and wire cages in the stream channel to serve as “soft release” locations. In order to continuously monitor the juveniles following their release, we installed two state-of-the-art solar-driven instream antenna systems at the release site. Following two weeks of acclimation inside the soft release environments, the juveniles were released to the wild and are currently being monitored by instream and hand-held antenna systems.