Midpen staff surveying a pond in La Honda Creek Preserve

Pond Patrol


Every winter when the rains begin, California red-legged frogs, newts, Pacific tree frogs and other amphibians journey to coastal ponds to breed and lay eggs, and Midpen biologists follow. Between January and March, our staff annually monitor dozens of ponds throughout our coastal area preserves that were originally built decades ago by ranchers to provide water for cattle.

Today, they are managed and restored as part of Midpen preserves for the dual purpose of providing critical habitat for rare native wildlife while continuing to provide water for cattle that are now part of Midpen’s conservation grazing program aimed at managing coastal grasslands for biodiversity. Staff track wildlife present (particularly by identifying their egg masses in the water), test water quality and inspect pond infrastructure for any needed work.

“Even though these stock ponds were created artificially in the past by ranchers, they have since become extremely useful for supporting the recovery of certain wildlife species like the California red-legged frog.” —Midpen’s David Liefert

“We also try to anticipate the effects of climate change on a longer time scale so that we can plan for how water availability on the landscape is going to change,” Midpen Resource Management Specialist David Liefert said.

Learn more at openspace.org/ponds.

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