3/4/2022 - Hicks road massacre

Holy shit people, it's bad on Hicks road. Only a few earlier in the season, but today was awful. Along the main part of the Guadalupe reservoir there were 245 dead newts. Further up the hill, in a very small stretch of road just down from the stop sign at Mt Umunhum road there were another 118. Many more in between that I didn't document.

Originally I went there to make newt observations along the reservoir itself, then took a walk on Woods trail (where there were several live newts and one dead), and on the way back home saw a live newt on the road just after turning left onto Hicks. When I stopped to escort them, I saw a shocking number in such a small area, so I had to document there too. Along with the 118 dead ones near the stop sign there were at least 5 live ones heading across the road, all in the same direction (away from Almaden Quicksilver, toward Sierra Azul), plus several other live ones further down the road/nearer the reservoir on my way home, going in the same direction. Which makes me think that a lot more will try to cross the road tonight. :-(

A MidPen ranger stopped on Hicks in the stop sign massacre area and we talked about it. I noted that this area might be park land, and since MidPen is working on the newts at Lexington, they should apply some of that work near Jacques Ridge too. He thanked me for being out there. I wish we didn't need to be.

Here are the observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?on=2022-03-04&place_id=any&subview=map&taxon_id=27816&user_id=newtpatrol&verifiable=any

Publicado por newtpatrol newtpatrol, 05 de marzo de 2022


That's terrible news, @newtpatrol. From the very beginning I've feared that we'd find similar catastrophes in other areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains if we looked close enough. Of necessity, due to a limited number of volunteers, we focused on the 4-mile section of Alma Bridge Rd. Opening up the study to include other sites will be like opening Pandora's Box.

One thing we have to keep in mind is that this huge number of dead newts probably accumulated over several weeks (or however long it takes for them to completely disappear). Just like the 400 I originally found on Alma Bridge Rd. that fateful day in Jan 2018.

Still, @newtpatrol might have discovered a hot spot that is equally as horrifying as Lexington. Thanks for shedding light in this situation, @newtpatrol.

Publicado por truthseqr hace 11 meses (Marca)

Yes, @truthseqr, this was just a one-off survey, with accumulated mortality (but boy were there a lot of fresh ones). Having noticed (but not documented) the same thing last year, I really wanted to go back and document after a rain this year. It is, like you say, mainly to highlight that this is yet another hotspot, which isn't surprising, and add more illumination to the pattern. At least at Guadalupe, they could theoretically estivate on the non-road side of the reservoir, and I assume that many do, but it's much more open and probably less optimal than going into the denser forest upslope. I surely don't intend to open the Pandora's box of having us/me regularly patrol there (I didn't even remove the carcasses this time, that would have taken twice as long), but of course if someone else wants to adopt that spot, I'll cheer them on.

Publicado por newtpatrol hace 11 meses (Marca)

Thanks for all you do to advocate for the newts, Stacie!
Poor little newts. When will relief come for them?

Publicado por truthseqr hace 11 meses (Marca)

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