Plus: World Frog Day and International Day of Action for Rivers (helping us all)
March 20 is not only the first day of Spring, but it is World Frogs Day. A Frog House is pleased to announce that environmentally minded friends are invited to participate in a discussion with Evan Dawson about local initiatives and actions to meet UN environmental goals. But first:
The time is here! Good news! There is an anonymous donation of $833/per month which we are hoping to match each month. In January, you gave $1,042. In February, you gave $2,642.98! In the overall picture, you can be sure that every dollar contributed goes to A Frog House advocacy, collaboration and education through major webinars and events, both special and weekly. The money does for others, and not for my own labors of love.
Join Us on Connections with Evan Dawson
March 20 is not only the first day of Spring, but it is World Frogs Day. A Frog House is pleased to announce that environmentally minded friends are invited to participate in a discussion with Evan Dawson about local initiatives and actions to meet the following environmental goals:
- special measures to conserve biological diversity;
- selection, establishment and management of protected or to be protected areas
- ensuring their conservation and sustainable use;
- environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas;
- cooperation in providing financial and other support for in-situ conservation.
These goals are part of the 2022 UN biodiversities conferences 30 by 30 pledge (to preserve 30% of land, wetlands, and waterways by 2030), in order to protect biodiversity and address climate change.
A Frog House Friends participating on the radio program include:
- Founder and CEO Margot Fass, MD
- Advisor and Former Mayor of the Village of Pittsford for 28 years Robert C. Corby,
- Volunteers Kara Kotwas and Mark Wochner, who are actively using their Mitchell Road property in Pittsford for the environmental good.
- You! Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone at 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter.
- Plan either to call in as a listener or preferably
- Share information in advance about your own work as it relates to the subject so that Mr. Dawson can read some examples throughout the hour.
Call to Action
Are you engaged publicly and/or privately to:
- create more parks,
- conserve native fish and wildlife habitats and corridors
- through fresh water lakes, rivers and wetlands, land use?
- increase access for outdoor recreation, and encourage/incentivize voluntary conservation efforts of suitable private land,
- apply the model of sustainable and collaborative Bioregional Regeneration?
If yes, let us know! If no, we’d like you to consider the ways that you can get cooperatively involved and make up your own action plan after listening to the program.
Amazon milk frog – credit Freya Boor in A Frog Blog for World Frog Day
World Frog Day
The history of frogs is one of survival, estimated to have been living as long as 265 million years ago, with the oldest fossil of “protofrog” appearing somewhere around 245 million years ago.
Their heroic story, sturdiness, adaptations and diversity make it even more tragic that of the 8,000 known species, approximately 170 have gone extinct within a very short ten years, and nearly 1/3 are threatened, endangered or extinct at this time.
For some amazing photos, particularly of the Titicaca Water Frog, which you will not believe, see the article Fabulous Frogs, The World’s Most Endangered Frogs, June 17, 2017, fourth frog down, by Eric R. Olsen.
Hence, World Frog Day, set about a decade ago (the years vary) for the First Day of Spring. Just as the deadly chytrid fungus has killed millions of frogs around the globe, so we, wherever we are and whatever we do, can spread good news and hope and do good works to save them.
SAVE THE FROGS!, which I have belonged to for at least 10 years and highly endorse, is a world wide organization committed to the conservation of frogs. This year, founder Kerry Kriger, PhD, has built the World Frog Day website, and developed an organizing committee, taking the event from a fun online image sharing, to the professional level.
Right on schedule, Dr. Kriger created an extraordinary event, an expert panel on amphibians and plenty of ways you can get involved. This event takes place on March 20th, 2023 at 10am Los Angeles time. That is smack at the same time as A Frog House local radio stomp. So, if you are interested in local environmental bioregionalism, please tune in to the Evan Dawson Show, but if you want to focus on frogs, go for Dr. Kriger’s webinar!
(NB: STF! also has their own Save the Frogs Day (now in its 15th year!) on April 28. As I will be building a wetland in Illinois with this group on that date, A Frog House is holding our annual STFD event on May 7. Watch this space for details.)
On top of all that, there also is an Amphibian Week which wonderfully starts on May 7!
Oregon Spotted Frogs, Photo Credit David Herasimtschuk. Purchase canvas wraps or ready-to-frame high quality photo prints, from $40. All proceeds support Freshwaters Illustrated’s mission-driven work.
Frogs Need Clean Water to Survive
In general, frogs are fresh water amphibians, with a few exceptions of species that tolerate some salt. Also, frogs cannot live in polluted (think pesticides and acid rain) waters, but would suffocate because they drink and breath through their skin. In fact, as bioindicators, the health of frogs in any given area is an excellent indication of the health of their environment.
For example, the River Frog, once North Carolina’s second largest frog, as not been reported in the state since 1975. In general, however, it is common in other areas of the Southeastern United States where the habitat is more eco-friendly.
Several frogs that are common along the Mississippi River are also native to Western New York. For example: the Spring Peeper, Northern Leopard Frog, Grey Tree Frog, Green Frog, Western Chorus Frog, Wood Frog, and the American Bullfrog. The reason for this: anon.
American Rivers America’s Most Endangered Rivers. Photo by Olivia Dorothy
International Day of Action for Rivers (helping Us All)
Today, March 14, was birthed 26 years ago as a day of action in Curitiba, Brazil, by a group that called themselves the First International Meeting of People [and Animals] Affected by Dams.
The group believes that rivers have rights that must be legally protected to stop these important fresh water sources from becoming dumping sites (two million tons of sewage, industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into our waters every day).
If the entire human population, who ourselves collectively weigh two million tons, were dumped into the nearest water body on Saturday, we and our garbage would add up to 80 billion cubic feet of water displaced in one day! Furthermore, there would be 1 person per ton of dead material, but fortunately there would be no more garbage dumped, except for remains picked up by encroaching waters.
Some people say we would deserve to be dumped, but there are fortunately, plenty of people who want to help, and The International Day of Action For Rivers brings people from the entire globe to discuss pollution, management, and conservations.
We may be the ones who destroy, but we can also create. In 2022, more than 70 events occurred all over the world, including clean-ups, paddle board celebrations, walks and webinars with over 30 countries participating.
Map of 2021 Day of Action for Rivers events.
Endangered Rivers Affect One Another
The Mississippi River is the 6th most endangered river in the United States, coming after the 1) Colorado River, which feeds 7 of the United States and Mexico, 2) the Snake River, with 4 federal dams, related to 3 northwestern states, 3) the Mobile River in Alabama, 4) Maine’s Atlantic Salmon Rivers, and the 5) Coosa River, in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river in North America, and fifteenth largest in the world, running through no fewer than 10 states, not including New York.
US Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Mississippi Watershed, May 19, 2021.
However, the Mississippi River definitely affects our Great Lakes Region, due to a human constructed connection between the Mississippi Basin and Lake Michigan.
This tie-in has caused havoc in both bioregions with cross pollution and invasive species. For example, silver carp, a form of Asian carp introduced in the 1970s to the United States to control algal blooms, out compete native fish, and may affect native freshwater mussels by eating the plankton which are required by both the fish and mussels.
The Great Lakes themselves are linked by a series of rivers, straits and smaller lakes, a bioregion boasting more than 80% of the World’s freshwater. Lake Superior and Lake Michigan drain respectively into Lake Huron via the St. Mary’s River and the narrow Straits of Mackinac, Lake Huron via the St Claire and Detroit Rivers to Lake Erie which drains via the Niagara River to Lake Ontario.
The Finger Lakes also drain through Lake Ontario, where all the water drains east and southward via the St. Lawrence River and Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean.
Waterfall at the Letchworth State Park. Photo by James Mirakian
Benefits of Rivers
Steve Ganey is a vice president and Lauren Spurrier is a senior director with The Pew Charitable Trusts. Together, on September 22, 2022, they wrote an article entitled “8 Benefits of Healthy, Free-Flowing Rivers,” in anticipation of another, different, World Rivers Day on September 25. Here is what they listed for benefits of a healthy river:
- Protects sources of clean drinking water
- Preserves cultures and traditions
- Conserves reservoirs of wildlife and biodiversity
- Bolsters the recreational economy
- Helps limit and control flooding
- Transfers nutrients
- Helps fight climate change
- Preserves a sustainable source of food
However, the world population has doubled from 2 to 4 billion persons between 1930 and 1980, and nearly doubled again by 2021, at 7.888 billion. No wonder humans have wrought so much damage to rivers, poisoning them beyond sustainability by pollution, dams, and diversions for themselves and all other species to boot. But again, if we can hurt, so we can help.
Genesee RiverWatch Edelweiss Tree Planting.
What’s Being Done Locally
Genesee RiverWatch was started 40 years ago, and is committed to improving the water quality of the Genesee River Watershed, which stretches to northern Pennsylvania. The first report card in 2019 was passable, but not stellar:
C: Average Genesee River Basin grade
B: Oatka and Black Creeks
C: Upper Basin of the river (south of Letchworth Park), Honeoye Creek and Conesus Creek sub-watersheds
D: Canaseraga Creek
In short, parts are healthier than others, but there is more degradation in sum.
Genesee RiverWatch tasks include:
- “Restoring streambanks that preserve critical farmland and reduces river-borne sediment.
- Promoting technologies that make clean water economically viable.
- Leveraging the strength of basin-wide partnerships to increase funding prospects for Genesee River Basin projects to the benefit of all citizens.”
Because the whole is made up of its parts, our river is similar to one of us having cancer in our liver. The cancer started back in the 1800s, when Victoria Oil came to town.
Jeremy Moule wrote an excellent article, Who’s going to clean up the mess in PLEX? in City News, September 2, 2020 to help us understand the initial poisoning. Here are some excerpts:
“That place and that land is just covered with poison ivy and garbage and trash,” Spano said. ‘When you look at it you think, ‘Oh, nobody cares. This is a place that I can go and get away with whatever.’ …
…In its heyday, the Vacuum Oil Co. got away with a lot. The company was formed in 1866, the year its founders Matthew Ewing and Hiram Everest patented a method to produce kerosene from crude oil using vacuum distillation….
…It wasn’t long before the first buildings of the refinery went up on Flint Street at the river’s edge and caught the attention of John D. Rockefeller. His Standard Oil bought a controlling interest in Vacuum Oil in 1879… [until 1935]….
…In 1887, Everest and his son, Charles, were convicted of conspiring to blow up and destroy a competing lubricating oil company in Buffalo. … Sitting in court every day of the trial were John D. and William A. Rockefeller..
…Public complaints about Vacuum Oil swelled. The noted horticulturalist George Ellwanger called the company an “unsufferable nuisance” in the Democrat and Chronicle…
But the remnants of the oil works remain and today are a different kind of nuisance. They provide cover for drug users, vandals, squatters, and people up to no good, residents say.”
While some of the land and river has been revitalized and cleaned up, American Rivers apparently has an interest in remediating waterfront brownfield sites, of which we may still have at least 23 acres.
Meantime, we still have a plethora of municipal, commercial and private interests in revitalization along the riverside, which bring their own host of problems.
Get involved with: