(Host) A group in Monkton has been awarded $150,000 to build a new crossing for salamanders and other amphibians.
Hundreds of animals – including the rare yellow-spotted salamander – cross the Monkton-Vergennes Road each spring. And about 50 percent of them are killed.
Volunteers gather at the site each spring to count the animals and even carry some across the road.
Chris Slesar says the Monkton Conservation Commission has tried to get funding for a crossing under the road since 2007.
(Slesar) "The site that we have in Monkton is of regional significance in terms of the sheer number of amphibians at the site and the diversity of amphibians at the site, combined with the number of rare species we have on that site and the fact that the traffic is heavy on that road."
(Host) The Conservation Commission was awarded the money in federal transportation enhancement funds– a first for Vermont. The group plans a box culvert at the site, along with a retaining wall to guide the amphibians to the crossing.
Slesar says the money couldn’t come at a better time, as volunteers have already been out at crossings:
(Slesar) "Even with upwards of eight or nine people out there, a lot of amphibians are getting hit. So they definitely need some other help. The hand carry method is not sustainable."
(Host) The Monkton Conservation Commission will be raising matching funds for the project. They hope to begin construction in 2011.