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Salamander Crossing - Henry Street - Amherst, Massachusetts
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member 401Photos
N 42° 24.713 W 072° 30.313
18T E 705279 N 4698524
Quick Description: Constructed in 1987, these potentially first-in-the-nation amphibian crossing tunnels have helped maintain the local spotted salamander population by providing safe passage between their forest habitat and vernal pools where they mate and lay eggs.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 8/15/2019 9:54:28 PM
Waymark Code: WM114RN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 1

Long Description:

Constructed in 1987, this pair of potentially first-in-the-nation amphibian crossing tunnels have helped maintain the local spotted salamander population by providing safe passage between their forest habitat and vernal pools where they mate and lay eggs, typically in March and April, for over three decades. Members of the environmental education organization and volunteers also help the amphibians make the crossing on those nights with a stable temperature above 40°F (4.4°C) when the first Spring rains occur.

Henry Street separates salamanders from the vernal pools (small temporary ponds) where they migrate every spring to mate and to lay eggs. When word spread about the animals’ plight, the British Fauna and Floral Preservation Society and ACO Polymer in Germany provided funds for an experimental tunnel project on Henry Street. In 1987, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, Amherst Department of Public Works, University of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Audubon Society, and local residents worked together to build two tunnels, 200 feet (61m) apart, and short “drift fences” to guide migrating salamanders into the tunnels. Today, the Hitchcock Center maintains these important migratory tunnels with volunteers to ensure that they remain free of debris and that the drift fences are mended after the heavy winter snow.

– The Hitchcock Center

There is no safe place to park on Henry Street. Please take East Pleasant to Pine Street and park at Cushman Village Common on Hypotenuse Way. Then walk up Pine Street to Henry Street and turn right. There is no shoulder, so watch out for oncoming traffic, too.


Photo: Rebecca Reid
FUN FACT: The spotted salamanders commonly seen in New England and the eastern United States are glossy black with two rows of bright yellow spots down their backs and tails. They can crawl up to half a mile. One night every spring they leave their underground forest homes and migrate to wetland ponds to breed. Salamanders are famous for their energetic "love dance." The females' eggs hatch quickly into larvae, and the larvae develop into young adults that emerge from their ponds in summer or early fall to migrate back to the forest. Unlike many amphibians, adults have a high survival rate.

– Critter Crossings (via the U.S. Dept. of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration)

BONUS FUN FACT: For eight years, a local bluegrass trio performed and recorded under the moniker Salamander Crossing. The group released four albums before going their separate ways in 1999: Salamander Crossing (1995), Passion Train (1996), Bottleneck Dreams (1998), and Henry Street: A Retrospective (2000). You can listen here.

Sources:

Hitchcock Center: Henry Street Salamander Tunnels

Daily Hampshire Gazette; "Earth Matters: Amherst's salamander tunnels, 30 years on" (4/20/2018)

U.S. Dept. of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration: Critter Crossings – Linking Habitats and Reducing Roadkill

Type of Passage: Wildlife Tunnel

Website for more information: [Web Link]

Parking Coordinates: 42°24'47.7"N 72°30'29.2"W

If 'Other' please list type of passage used: Not listed

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