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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Green River Conservation Opportunity Area

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AUTHORS: Jay Vecchiet, Department of Biology Northern Illinois University; Tristan Schramer, University of Illinois; Richard B. King, Department of Biology, Northern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: The Green River Conservation Opportunity Area (GRCOA) encompasses ca. 450 km2 in northern Illinois and includes multiple protected areas within a largely agricultural matrix. A comprehensive study of amphibians and reptiles within the Green River Conservation Opportunity Area (GRCOA) has not been completed for over a quarter of a century and new parcels have since come under protection. A range of management techniques and habitat types exist among protected sites within the GRCOA. Previous surveys have revealed at least six species in greatest need of conservation that occur in the GRCOA about which limited knowledge exists: Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, Blanding’s Turtle, Ornate Box Turtle, Slender Glass Lizard, Smooth Green Snake, and Plains Hog-nosed Snake. Employing artificial cover objects, drift fences, turtle traps, aquatic funnel traps, dog teams, and visual encounter surveys in both remnant and restored areas will result in an up-to-date inventory of amphibians and reptiles for the largest site, the Green River State Wildlife Area (GRSWA) and in the Green River COA more generally. Further outcomes include a better understanding of the ways in which management actions contribute to persistence and health of native amphibians and reptiles. The results thus far, when compared to the most recent large-scale survey of the GRSWA, show an overall decrease in species richness. While the Blanding’s Turtle, Ornate Box Turtle, and Plains Hog-nosed Snake persist at GRSWA, evidence indicates small and possibly declining populations. However, two species in greatest need of conservation, the Blanchard’s Cricket Frog and the Smooth Green Snake, occur in high densities across the site. Search efforts also resulted in the first confirmed Slender Glass Lizard for GRSWA, which were previously sighted, but unconfirmed. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer