Winton Wetlands’ expert ecologists Lance Lloyd and Dr Lisa Farnsworth are frog-talking on Tuesday 13 September (10am-11am) at an online webinar being put on by the Australian Wetlands Network, a forum of non-government conservation organisations. “Grassroots to Growlers: Citizen scientists, land managers and researchers collaborating to rewild Growling Grass Frogs”
Lance and Lisa will be talking about the big challenges in bringing back species like the growling grass frog (shown here) made locally extinct around Winton by previous land management practices – but which can play a big role as predators of other frogs and insects, and as food themselves for native bird species we need back in greater numbers. This “rewilding” work is important yet complex and delicate – but Winton Wetlands has been working closely with others for several years to make sure we can get it right. The signs are looking good!
Winton Wetlands, some 9000ha in size, were flooded by Lake Mokoan for 40 years and are now being restored. Growling Grass Frogs (GGF; Litoria raniformis), once common in wetland ecosystems, are now regarded as endangered in Victoria due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and the impact of chytrid fungus. GGFs were present at Winton Wetlands prior to it becoming Lake Mokoan (1970) but are now likely to be locally extinct due to the loss of suitable habitat. GGFs are important in the wetland ecosystem as they are functionally different from other frog species being predators of other frogs, and terrestrial insects. Their large size also makes them valuable prey for predatory bird species. To evaluate the feasibility of rewilding GGFs at Winton Wetlands, a suite of information was collected, including 4 years of acoustic monitoring, Chytrid studies, habitat suitability modeling, and complex approval processes.