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Environmental Science and Policy
Habitat fragmentation remains a key concern for spotted salamanders, which are a keystone species within Eastern Hemlock forests. Particularly on Big Night – known as the first rainy spring night above 42ºF when amphibians travel to vernal pools to breed – salamanders require human help to get across roads safely. In fact, in Amherst, Massachusetts, the history of humans helping spotted salamanders cross the road extends back to the ‘bucket brigades’ of the 1970’s. In 1987, the Amherst community collaborated to construct the United States’ first amphibian migration tunnels on Henry Street. These tunnels allow salamanders to safely cross underneath roads without the aid of humans. That said, many spotted salamanders climb over the barriers which funnel the creatures into the tunnels, and so they may still depend on human help to migrate.
© 2022; Katie O’Dea, Isabella Viselli, and Marissa Meadows-McDonnell
O'Dea, Katie; Viselli, Isabella; and Meadows-McDonnell, Marissa, "Across the Road and Beyond: Envisioning the Future of Big Night Within the Amherst Socio-Ecological System" (2022). Capstone, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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