A new project to protect Oregon spotted frogs near Littlerock may soon break ground thanks to a significant expansion of the Capitol Land Trust’s Blooms Preserve. Eighty-two acres were recently purchased by the conservation nonprofit from a willing landowner.
The Blooms Preserve includes 4,300 feet of the man-made Blooms Ditch, which lies in the Black River watershed and regularly overflows into neighboring wetlands and fields. This year, it was discovered that Oregon spotted frogs — listed as endangered in Washington state — had laid eggs during a high water event, but that the eggs had become stranded when the water receded. A simple project consisting of shallow ponds may be enough to help the species recovery.
“Year-round water is critical for Oregon spotted frogs because they live their entire lives in water without going onto land,” according to a press release. “The water level data from Salmon Creek and soil profiles where the ponds will be located indicate that the ponds only need to be dug three feet deep to have water year-round.”
Blooms Ditch also provides rearing habitat for coho and winter steelhead and is home to three-spine sticklebacks, riffle sculpin, Olympic mudminnow, beavers, and several bird species.