Frenchtown Road Conservation Area

History of the Site and the NAFHA survey

In early 2010, BREC, the Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC), purchased a large tract of land (~500 acres) at the confluence of the Amite and Comite Rivers as a conservation area. This park, known as the Frenchtown Road Conservation Area, represents the largest park in the BREC system, and one of the largest preserves in East Baton Rouge Parish. While the site is not yet open to the public, North American Field Herping Association (NAFHA) South Central members Eric Rittmeyer and Chris Williams contacted BREC Department of Conservation Director Greg Grandy with the proposal to initiate a survey of the herpetofauna of the Frenchtown Road Conservation Area. The ultimate goal of the survey is to obtain a list of the reptiles and amphibians present in the conservation area, as well as to gain an understanding of their relative abundance (i.e. Abundant, Common, Uncommon, Rare) and seasonality. The Frenchtown Road Conservation Area survey also represents the first NAFHA survey in the South Central Chapter, as well as one of the first NAFHA projects in the eastern United States.

 

Description of the Site

The Frenchtown Road Conservation Area consists of nearly 500 acres of land at the confluence of the Amite and Comite Rivers. The site consists primarily of bottomland hardwood forest, and is transected by numerous swampy sloughs, as well as several low-lying swamplands dominated by Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Tupelo Gum (Nyssa aquatica), and/or Chinese Tallow (Triadica sebifera). In better drained, more upland portions of the site, mixed Pine-Hardwood forests are present. Much of the site consists of loamy soil; however, some sandier soil is present closer to the rivers, particularly the Amite River.

As of 5 May 2012, a total of 53 species of reptiles and amphibians have been documented at the site. However, several species that typically occur in this habitat and region but have not yet been encountered; thus, we expect documenting several additional species within the next year.

 

Species List – As of 5 May 2012 - 53 species documented (22 Amphibians, 31 Reptiles)

 

Amphibia (Amphibians) – 22 species

 

Caudata (Salamanders) – 7 species

Ambystomatidae (Mole Salamanders) – 2 species

Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander)

Ambystoma talpoideum (Mole Salamander)

Amphiumidae(Amphiumas) – 1 species

Amphiuma tridactylum (Three-toed Amphiuma)

Plethodontidae (Lungless Salamanders) – 3 species

Eurycea quadridigitata (Dwarf Salamander)

Eurycea guttolineata (Three-lined Salamander)

Plethodon mississippi (Mississippi Slimy Salamander)

            Salamandridae (True Salamanders) – 1 species

Notophthalmus viridescens louisiadensis (Central Red-spotted Newt)

           

Anura (Frogs & Toads) – 15 species

      Bufonidae (True Toads) – 2 species

Anaxyrus (Bufo) fowleri (Fowler’s Toad)

Incilius (Bufo) nebulifer (Gulf Coast Toad)

          Eleutherodactylidae – 1 species

Eleutherodactylus (Syrrhophus) cystignathoides (Rio Grande Chirping Frog) * Invasive

          Hylidae (Tree Frogs) – 7 species

Acris crepitans (Northern Cricket Frog)

Hyla avivoca (Bird-voiced Tree Frog)

Hyla chrysoscelis (Cope's Grey Tree Frog)

Hyla cinerea (Green Tree Frog)

Hyla squirella (Squirrel Tree Frog)

Pseudacris crucifer (Spring Peeper)

Pseudacris fouquettei (Cajun Chorus Frog)

            Microhylidae (Narrow-mouthed Frogs) – 1 species

Gastrophryne carolinensis (Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad)

            Pelobatidae (Spadefoot Toads) – 1 species

Scaphiopus holbrookii (Eastern Spadefoot Toad)

            Ranidae (True Frogs) – 3 species

Lithobates (Rana) clamitans (Bronze Frog)

Lithobates (Rana) catesbeianus (Bull Frog)

Lithobates (Rana) sphenocephala (Southern Leopard Frog)

 

Reptilia (Reptiles) – 31 species

 

Squamata (Lizards & Snakes) – 21 species (5 lizards + 16 snakes)

      Phrynosomatidae (Spiny Lizards) – 1 species

Sceloporus undulatus (Eastern Fence Lizard)

      Polychrotidae (Anoles) – 1 species

Anolis carolinensis (Green Anole)

            Scincidae (Skinks) – 3 species

Plestiodon fasciatus (Five-lined Skink)

Plestiodon laticeps (Broad-headed Skink)

Scincella lateralis (Ground Skink)

 

            Colubridae (Colubrid Snakes) – 14 species

Carphophis amoenus (Eastern Worm Snake)

Coluber constrictor priapus (Southern Black Racer)

Diadophis punctatus strictogenys (Mississippi Ring-necked Snake)

Lampropeltis getula (Speckled Kingsnake)

Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster (Yellow-bellied Watersnake)

Nerodia fasciata confluens (Broad-banded Watersnake)

Nerodia rhombifer (Diamond-backed Watersnake)

Nerodia sipedon pleuralis (Midland Watersnake)

Pantherophis spiloides (Grey Ratsnake)

Opheodrys aestivus (Rough Greensnake)

Storeria dekayi (Dekay’s Brownsnake)

Thamnophis proximus (Western Ribbonsnake)

Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis (Eastern Gartersnake)

Virginia striatula (Rough Earth Snake)

            Viperidae (Vipers) – 2 species

Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix (Southern Copperhead)

Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma (Western Cottonmouth)

 

Chelonia (Turtles) – 10 species

      Chelydridae (Snapping Turtles) – 1 species

Chelydra serpentina (Common Snapping Turtle)

      Emydidae (Pond & Box Turtles) – 4 species

Graptemys sp. (Map Turtle)

Pseudemys concinna (River Cooter)

Terrapene carolina (Eastern Box Turtle)

Trachemys scripta elegans (Red-eared Slider)

      Kinosternidae (Mud & Musk Turtles) – 3 species

Kinosternon subrubrum (Mississippi Mud Turtle)

Sternotherus carinatus (Razor-backed Musk Turtle)

Sternotherus odoratus (Eastern Musk Turtle)