What is the Frog & Toad Survey?

Michigan Frog & Toad Survey

Michigan is home to 13 native species of anurans (frogs and toads). In recent years, many observers have been concerned with the apparent rarity, decline, and/or population die-offs of several of these species. This concern was not only for the species themselves, but also for the ecosystems on which they depend. Frogs and toads, like many other aquatic organisms are sensitive to changes in water quality and adjacent land use practices, and their populations undoubtedly serve as an index to environmental quality.

As a result, the Michigan Frog and Toad Survey was initiated in 1988 on a limited basis to increase our knowledge of anuran abundance and distribution, and to monitor populations over the long term. Over the next few years, a statewide system of permanent survey routes will be developed. Each route will consist of ten wetland sites which will be visited three times annually -- in early spring, late spring, and summer -- by a volunteer observer. At each site, the observer will identify the species present on the basis of their breeding season calls or songs, and make a simple estimate of abundance for each species, using a call index value of 1, 2, or 3. Miscellaneous observations can also be made from locations other than the permanent survey routes.

This cooperative survey is modeled after the very successful Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey, which was begun in 1981. Over the years, the Michigan Frog and Toad Survey will provide a wealth of information on the status of Michigan frog and toad populations, and help monitor the quality of our environment.