The western chorus frog has seen a distinct decline in its Great Lakes and St. Lawrence population, so much so that the Canadian Shield population was designated Threatened in 2008 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. As the distribution of the western chorus frog is poorly known in eastern Ontario, Seburn Ecological Services conducted surveys to track down the amphibian in rural eastern Ottawa and the county of Prescott as well as Russell. Surveys were conducted by listening for calling frogs at roadside wetlands, and researchers hoped they would find new populations of western chorus frogs.
Seburn and his team conducted auditory surveys for the western chorus frog at 144 roadside wetlands in east Ottawa and west Prescott and Russell. Unfortunately, the frog wasn’t detected at any of the sites (including five sites it was previously found at). The reason? It looks like there are not enough wetlands (which the frog relies on for survival) in the area, and that there is too much forest or agricultural land in the area for the frog to thrive. In any case, the lack of western chorus frog observations suggests a widespread decline, however, we still cannot conclude the frog is absent from east Ottawa, as not all of the roads were surveyed and 27 per cent of the habitat they could live in was away from any road. Seburn suggests more surveys be conducted in these areas, as well as areas with recent sightings of the frog, areas with moderate to high wetland cover, and finally areas with low to moderate forest or agricultural cover.