In early November, staff from Premier, led by Senior Ecologist Dean Fitzgerald, captured thousands of creatures from a small pond that was scheduled for maintenance.
We waited until the temperatures cooled off, allowing a much higher catch efficiency, since these creatures are ectotherms (cold blooded).
We used different types of nets to catch the various creatures, and then placed them in buckets with water. Species included Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans), Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens), along with Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens), tadpoles, and dragonfly larvae (Order Odonata, Suborder Anisoptera). An interesting observation was the presence of at least three distinct length classes of Green Frog tadpoles and three length classes of dragonfly larvae, suggesting the presence of at least two or even three-year classes in the pond and overwinter survival despite the small size of the pond.
All captured specimens were moved to an adjacent pond, so that the maintenance could be completed on the pond in question without harming the resident species. We did not capture any turtles, and this was a surprise. However, we heard from individuals familiar with the pond that the resident Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) had been observed walking on the grass between the pond and an adjacent wetland during the rainy days of the last two weeks of October. Land owners planning scheduled maintenance are legally obligated to transport wildlife from ponds and thereby avoid harm to resident species, as prescribed under Ontario’s Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. With proper care, wildlife rescue and transfer will result in very little mortality to these sensitive aquatic species.