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[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Tree Frog Forum ]

Posted by H BlueDevil H on May 03, 2003 at 22:05:22:

Hey, I live in New Jersey and I was totally amazed at what I saw in the paper today! Yes our frogs are making a come back and this is just something I thought we should all read.

May 3, 2003

Tree frog leaps from endangered to threatened list
By DEREK HARPER Staff Writer, (609) 272-7203

Twenty-plus years of strict development restrictions have paid off for at least one small member of the Pinelands community.

The Pine Barrens tree frog hopped off the state endangered species list Friday. The move, after 24 years, came when the state Department of Environmental Protection upgraded the animal's status from endangered to threatened. The state first considered the move last summer.

While habitat protections remain the same for the colorful 11/2-inch frogs, the "downlisting" reflects a growing confidence in their long-term survival, DEP spokesman Jack Kaskey said.

Endangered species are at risk of extinction. Threatened species are sparse but viable. "It's a notch below, but it's a better notch," Kaskey said.

DEP biologists recently determined the frog is locally abundant and that its habitat is well protected by the Pinelands Commission's Comprehensive Management Plan. The plan keeps out most large-scale development and strictly regulates other growth.

Development can easily upset the frog's native habitat. The frogs lay eggs in seasonal, isolated ponds that exist only in winter and spring. They prefer Atlantic white cedar swamps carpeted with sphagnum moss. They rely on mosquitoes for food.

Until recently, the ponds did not qualify for wetlands protections. And this state combats mosquitoes aggressively.

But in recent years the state has increased protection for the 10,000 ponds, or vernal pools, the frogs rely on, Kaskey said.

The downlisting was good news for Chris Claus. The principal park naturalist of the Cattus Island County Park in Ocean County leads nighttime frog-listening tours. The next one is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 15. While the news was encouraging, "time will tell if the frog is out of danger," he said.

Preservationists were delighted by the news.

"It's still holding on by a thread. We just know that the thread is a lot thicker than it was 20 years ago," said Carlton Montgomery, executive director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Pinelands Commission Chair Jim Florio, who as a congressional representative in the 1970s helped create legislation to set aside the pinelands, said the news further justifies the pinelands legislation. "Now it is clear that but for the Pinelands Preservation Act there are a lot of things that would be gone, and not just the Pine Barrens tree frog,"

The frogs are one of the most distinct animals of New Jersey's pinelands. Green with a lavender stripe of a mask across the eyes, the animal was included by artist Andy Warhol alongside the Siberian tiger, bald eagle and African elephant in his 1983 endangered animals print series.

The frogs are found throughout New Jersey's pinelands. At night, their distinctive "quonk-quonk-quonk" mating call can be heard during May and June.

The DEP has the frog's mating call online at

While the frogs live in isolated patches of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and western Florida, their biggest communities are in cedars swamps of this state's pinelands. New Jersey is also where they first were found.

To e-mail Derek Harper at The Press:

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