A contract between Southern Habitats and FWC to enhance habitat for the Pine Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum), an endangered species.
This critter lives in what old timers called “wet weather ponds”, biologist call “ephemeral wetlands” and are basically shallow ponds that hold water during wet periods but stay dry the much of the time. These ponds are part of the natural fire adapted landscape and historically fires would blaze right through them as the pond bottom grew native grasses. For some reason many years ago fire breaks were cut around these ponds and this allowed woody vegetation to overtake them. Our main focus was to remove the canopy of 12 ponds. We cut all the dense ti-ti and myrtle leaf holly with chainsaws, dragged it all out by hand and treated the stumps with tryclopyr to prevent re-sprouting.
As part of this project we installed metal drift fences around four of the ponds so the scientists could capture and study the Pine Flatwoods Salamander.
In one of the photos you will see VA Tech Biologist Kelly Jones holding an Eastern Kingsnake. It was the first one documented on Eglin AFB in 10 years.