Assessing the success of created seasonal pools as mitigation for the loss of wooded wetlands is generally based on two or three years of monitoring. We monitored a wetland mitigation site in mid-coast Maine, USA, from 1999 to 2004 to track populations of wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in three created seasonal pools. Our goal was to study breeding patterns for six years to assess if presence of breeding animals in the first three years corresponded with long-term reproductive success and to track changes in vegetation development and hydrology in the mitigated pools. Breeding effort (egg masses/female) and reproductive success (juveniles/egg mass) were assessed using full enclosure drift fence/pitfall trap arrays and egg mass counts. Breeding effort was similar in all three pools for both species. However, for wood frogs, reproductive success was inversely related to hydroperiod and highest in the single pool that successfully replicated the desired seasonal water regime. The other two pools developed permanent and semi-permanent hydroperiods, thereby supporting populations of green frogs (Rana clamitans). Green frog tadpoles within these pools preyed upon wood frog eggs and embryos, causing almost complete losses in the last four years of the study. While spotted salamander reproductive success was also reduced in the permanent pool, spotted salamanders were more successful at producing metamorphs in the presence of green frogs. Over the study period, common cattail (Typha latifolia) dominated the pools, and although wetland vegetation did develop, it was not typical of forested seasonal pools. Our work shows that the presence of breeding amphibians characteristic of seasonal pools in the first three years is not sufficient to determine reproductive success of target species in created pools. Hydrology and canopy cover are elements of critical concern if created pools are to support native amphibian communities associated with seasonal pools.
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Vol. 26 • No. 4