Monday, March 31, 2008

Amphibian Friendly

I just received this notice from my town:

8:00 PM Public Hearing on proposed subdivision revisions to require all subdivision curbs be granite, roads be amphibian/reptile-friendly, and require open culverts above streams, amend permit applications, and change fees. These changes will add some cost to roads and housing, primarily in outlying areas where most homes are done in subdivisions with large street frontages. The changes will make projects more attractive, provide clear environmental benefits, and reduce maintenance costs.
What caught my eye was proposal to make all new "roads be amphibian/reptile-friendly". Not that the roads should allow the likes of Dick Cheney (an acknowledged reptile) to use them or any Democratic congressman (definite more spineless amphibian material). It's more that wildlife of any small squishy sort can cross the road at its own pace. Like the old joke:

Q: Why did the spotted salamanders cross the road?
A: Because the thoughtless humans destroyed most of their habitat and divided it with roads and developments, and they have no other way to get to places in order to find mates or food or shelter.
The real answer is to make sure that turtles and frogs and the like can go under the road through animal friendly conduits or tunnels and hopefully also make it hard for them to cross the road except at the cross-walks so-to-speak.

The Pioneer Valley is famous for the Amherst Salamander Crossing which helps the amphibians spawn and has long ago spawned a local band of the same name.

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