If you want to get involved in protecting the Northern Red-Legged Frogs your valuable time is welcome as well as financial contributions. If you would like to donate to our effort the Oregon Wildlife Foundation has been so kind as to receive donations through their website. You may donate by clinking Here. Contact us by clicking Contact.
Harborton Frog Shuttle 2017
Information for Volunteers
First of all, thanks for being willing to help the frogs.
We are working with ODFW and ODOT on some longer term solutions for this crossing, but for now, we just need to keep the frogs from getting squished. Last year, we transported more than 1000 frogs down to the wetland and more than 750 back up again.
Why we are out there:
Red-legged frogs are on the state’s sensitive species list and this is the largest known population of red-legged frog within the city of Portland. To get from Forest Park (where they live) to the Harborton Wetlands (where they breed) they have to cross two small roads, crazy busy Highway 30 and two sets of railroad tracks. If we are not out there, they get squished by the hundreds. The Harborton Wetland is the only wetland of size left along a stretch of the river that used to have hundreds of ponds and wetlands that would have provided suitable breeding habitat for frogs.
We have a team for each night of the week. We would like you to commit to one night that you can be available every week and note a couple of other nights when you are probably available if we need extra help or someone needs to swap nights because of a conflict.
Because the frogs only tend to move when it's above 45 and raining, on most of your nights your team leader will tell you there is no need to come. Regardless of the presumed situation, we need you to keep your night open each week until you receive final instruction from your leader since it is very hard to predict in advance whether or not the weather will be conducive to frog movement. It is very disheartening to the team leaders (and the frogs) when we find out at the last minute that you won’t be able to make it when you are very needed.
If you aren’t going to be available on one of your assigned nights, please give your team leader enough notice that they can find a substitute.
Our season runs from mid-November through March.
Where to report:
In December, the frogs will be moving in only one direction (downhill towards the wetland), so we will just be working on Harborton Drive. Harborton is the first road on the left after you go through the community of Linnton. It is well marked and there is a bus stop to look for at the intersection. Park at the bottom of Harborton, right behind the bus stop. Please park at an angle, in a way that there’s room for several cars. Here is a google map to the site: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zjyi9oMhKqUU.k3_aRspw73ko. However, if you use google maps, be aware that Google calls it Riverview Drive, and the road sign says Harborton Drive. BE VERY CAREFUL when you pull in, since there may be volunteers in or crossing the roadway, and will undoubtedly be frogs on the road you’ll need to dodge.
Later in the season, the frogs will be coming up from the wetland as well as down to it. At that time, your team captain may ask you to report to Marina Way rather than Harborton. By then, though, you’ll know where that is and where you should go.
When to report:
The frogs start to move as soon as it gets dark. That time changes as the season goes on. Your team leader will let you know what time to report on a given night. On the nights that are iffy, you may need to just wait at home until the team leader sees what’s happening on site. This means that you will need to have your rain pants, water bottle, and snack near the door.
How long are the shifts?
This is kind of up to the frogs and the weather. There are nights when a few frogs move early in the evening, then the temperature drops and the frogs stop moving, and we go home early. There are other nights when it warms up and rains later in the evening. Plan on being out until at least 9 or 9:30 p.m. though. And know that there are some busy nights when you may find it hard to quit. It’s a little addictive and gets hard to walk away when there are still frogs that need a lift. If you need to arrive late or leave at specific time, please let your team leader know in advance, since this will impact scheduling.
If you are a first timer, you are expected to arrive fifteen minutes early the first time you report for duty so your team leader can do an on-the-job training. He or she will show you the site, give you details about how to catch the frogs, show you where we release them, etc. Nothing about this is difficult. Most of the frogs are very cooperative.
What happens out there?
We use a silt fence barrier that stops the frogs and makes it easier to spot them and pick them up. Your team leader will tell you which part of the road to monitor. There’s only a few hundred feet of road to monitor, so you won’t be lonely. Once you see a frog, you walk up to it, reach down and gently pick it up. You'll place it in a five-gallon bucket that we will provide. When we get a few frogs in the bucket, they’ll be driven down to the wetland which is a mile or so away by car, since cars have to take a more circuitous route than frogs.
What should I wear/bring?
Dress in layers. You can get surprisingly warm walking up and down the hill looking for frogs, but you can also get chilled. We highly recommend a rain jacket, rain pants and water resistant boots or shoes. We have safety vests you will wear unless you have a yellow or orange jacket with reflectors. Bring a water bottle and a snack. If you have a bright headlamp or flashlight you like, bring it, along with extra batteries. We do, however, have some great loaner headlamps that may be much brighter than what you have. ALSO: Be sure to have clean hands when you come. Wash them thoroughly and don’t use lotions that might harm frog skin.
Is it dangerous on the road?
For frogs, yes. For people, no. Harborton is a very quiet road, with just a few houses, and the neighbors know who we are and what we are doing. With one or two exceptions, they drive very slowly and carefully through our site, since they don't want to hit the frogs....or us. They sometimes stop and ask us how it's going or will stop to pick up a frog they see and bring it to us. We DON'T go out onto Highway 30 to get the frogs since it isn't safe. And when we are down on Marina Way, we must not go up to the railroad tracks. Your team captain will explain this more thoroughly.
We haven’t had any injuries in previous years, but nevertheless, you’ll need to sign a volunteer waiver for the season and a roster for each evening.
Kids are very nimble at catching frogs and have a great time doing this, but they need lots of supervision and have short attention spans. We have to be very quiet and not move around too much so as not scare the frogs, and that's hard for kids. They also don’t last out there very long, and we need to count on you to stay at least until nine. So….sorry, but no kids under the age of 13. If you have a teenager who can be very patient and quiet, and really wants to give this a try, let me know and we will see how it goes.
Feel free to ask them by emailing or calling me or your team leader, but there will also be lots of time to ask questions when you get on site.
See you out there!
Volunteer Orientation: Sunday, November 5, 1 PM, Linnton Community Center, corner St Helens Rd & NW 107th
Volunteer Information Form: For the link to the form please click here.