Did You Know? All About Frogs

By GSWA Volunteer, Jim Northrop

One of the most common sights in the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is seeing a frog sunning on a log or searching for food.  “Frog” is the name given to a large family of adult tailless amphibians that have smooth skin and webbed hind feet. Frogs are not unique to the Great Swamp.  They inhabit moist places, near freshwater, all over the world.

Females lay their eggs in long strings in the water.  From these eggs, fish-like larvae called tadpoles or polliwogs hatch out, each with a broad swimming tail, and gills on the sides of the head.

Tadpoles feed on small aquatic plants that they scrape from sticks and stone, with their horny jaws.  As they increase in size, the legs grow out and the tail is absorbed.  The anterior pair of legs forms first but remains concealed beneath the skin until the hind pair is well developed and conspicuous.  With the growth of legs and the loss of tail, the gills disappear and the lungs come into use.  Nevertheless, most species always remain in close proximity to water through out their life.

Adults live on animal food such as insects, mollusks, and small fishes.  Some do not hesitate to eat members of their own species.  Frogs are useful to man in keeping down certain species of insects.  They are caught for the flesh in their hind legs, which is tasty white meat of a mild flavor.

The largest North American frog is the bullfrog, 5 to 8 inches long, found almost everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains.

2017 Stream Monitoring Agenda

By Sandra LaVigne, Director of Water Quality Programs

Beginning in 2017, as part of GSWA’s new expanded mission and role as the Passaic River Waterkeeper, we will begin to monitor sites downstream of Millington Gorge, the traditional end-point for sampling in our watershed. While we will still continue to closely monitor all of the streams within our Great Swamp Watershed (maintaining two monitoring sites on each of our five streams above the gorge as well as our Millington Gorge site), we have selected four additional sites between the gorge and Chatham Borough, to increase our understanding of the water quality in lower Passaic River.

Our new sites have been strategically chosen to monitor the inputs to the river from the surrounding communities.  Some of the sites are located near past USGS (United States Geological Survey) or NJDEP (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection) collection sites, allowing us to compare our 2017 results to historic data. Continue reading