Common Spadefoot Toad (Neobatrachus sudelli)
by Geoff Heard

By Rob Hale,

WetMAP scientist Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI)

In the last issue, I wrote an article outlining how Geoff Brown (also from ARI) and I had spent several weeks analysing data collected from the WetMAP frog monitoring program during 2018-2020. Our results showed clear benefits of environmental watering for frogs, and that water quality and habitat are also important.

Since the last issue, we have been busy writing a technical report summarising our key findings and providing recommendations to catchment management authorities and the Department of the Environment Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) so that they can use the information to adapt the way they manage the flow of water for the environment. The report focuses not only on frogs but also vegetation, fish, and birds, which are being monitored as part of the wider WetMAP program. Collectively, our results provide a very detailed picture of the benefits of environmental watering for wetlands.

We reported that for both frogs and birds abundance (the number of individuals) and species richness (the number of species) were greater at watered sites. The same is possibly true for fish, but more data are required to confirm the significance of our findings. There was also more breeding activity in frogs, birds and fish at watered wetlands. Vegetation benefits too – we reported more plant material and more wetland species in watered wetlands.

The WetMAP team are now very busy planning for the next phase of the project. One of the ideas we are exploring is placing small devices (called “AudioMoths” – a very popular way to study wildlife, google for more info!) at wetlands to record frog calls that are then identified using computer programs. This is a fantastic way to collect very detailed information about frog calling and offers great promise as a tool to monitor responses to environmental watering in addition to data collected by scientists and citizen scientists.

Little Lake Meran, central Victoria

9 views0 comments

Have you got a few minutes to help us get to know you? Please help us understand our audience by completing this short questionnaire.

If you follow The Frogs Are Calling You on social media, read the newsletter or receive communications from the project in any way, please help us! You don’t have to be signed up as a citizen scientist, you just have to be interested in the project.

You can also find links to the questionnaire on our website, social media, or by scanning the QR code below.

If you have already completed the survey, you are invited to complete it again – it’s helpful to us to see if our audience has changed too!

Dams, ponds, lakes, billabongs, swamps…

The term “wetland” refers to all of the above and more! Wetlands don’t have to be wet all the time to be considered wetlands. Wetlands don’t have to have standing water either – saturated ground also makes a wetland. Wetlands also don’t have to be fresh water – marine lagoons and inland saline wetlands can also count.

Some wetlands have trees growing in and around them and some wetlands may have no vegetation at all, or short, slow-growing vegetation. Man-made and natural waterbodies are both considered wetlands. Rivers and creeks are not normally considered wetlands in Victoria, but very slow-flowing waterways can sometimes count.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty on wetlands and it uses a broader definition that includes rivers. The Convention on Wetlands provides an international framework for the conservation and management of wetlands.

Gippsland Lakes Coastal Wetland RAMSAR listed significant site.

Photo: RAMSAR Official site for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wetlands are not just beautiful, providing support for biodiversity, they act as sediment traps and filter nutrients and pollutants, protecting the water that people drink. Around the world, wetlands support economies through tourism, food and recreation.

In Victoria, wetlands are an important part of Aboriginal cultural heritage and have provided food and livelihoods for people for thousands of years.

Even artificial ponds count as wetlands and have cultural and ecological value.

Photo: Pond Viewing Chair by Michael Coghlan

Find out more at:

8 views0 comments

A frog citizen science project.

Science is for everyone! Join our project investigating the effects of water management on the frogs of northern and western Victoria. The frogs are calling you!

Sign up today to help us discover how water management is affecting frogs. Check out our Instructions page for more information on how to collect data.

The Frogs Are Calling You is a citizen science project by: 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

@frogscalling  #frogscalling

Subscribe to The Frog's Are Calling You Newsletter, "Croak!"

DELWP new 2015.jpg
White background.jpg
Aus museum download.png
University of Melbourne.png