My apologies for the off-topic post. I hope you will all forgive the
transgression in the interests of getting the word out about an urgent
matter - especially since birding is a bit slow this time of year! :-)
The Monkton Conservation Commission, of which I'm a member, is applying for
a Federal grant to protect a rare and important amphibian population in
Monkton. Huge numbers of Blue-spotted Salamanders and Spotted Salamanders
(both listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need), along with spring
peepers, Wood Frogs, and other species, are killed every spring as they
attempt to cross the Monkton-Vergennes road to get to their breeding pools.
Some of you may have also have seen press coverage of this issue and our
grant application on the local news (WPTZ) this past spring:
<http://www.wptz.com/video/11508981/index.html?source> or in the Burlington
The site has been studied by professional biologists for a decade and is
considered to be one of Vermont's most important wildlife crossings. The
experts are telling us that If something isn't done to remedy the
traffic-caused mortality, these amphibian populations will not survive.
In response, we are trying to fund the installation of a series of
specialized culverts that will allow the salamanders and frogs to cross
safely under the road. These structures have been used effectively in both
Western Massachusetts and Albany, New York. This type of project is still
relatively new, though, and it's getting national attention. Defenders of
Wildlife will actually be publishing an article on the project in their
publication in July. This grant could therefore have a significant ripple
effect well beyond Monkton and even beyond Vermont.
Public support is critical for the application to be successful. It's an
uphill battle because we're competing for funds against more visible and
politically popular projects like sidewalks, bridges, and visitor centers
(all of which are of course worthy causes, but someone's gotta speak for the
This coming Monday, July 9th at 7:30 p.m., at the Monkton Town Hall, we will
be making a presentation on the project. If you live in or anywhere near
Monkton and believe in what we're trying to do here, it would be
tremendously helpful if you came to the meeting to express your interest and
support. It would also help to spread the word among potentially sympathetic
neighbors and friends who may not be on this list.
If you can't make the public meeting but would like to help with a letter of
support or a call to a legislator who may have some influence on the grant
process, please let me know and I'll make it easy for you!
Thank you all very much and again, apologies for the OT post.