Floodplain habitats of large rivers play an important role in the life cycle of amphibian and reptiles. Despite their importance, reptile and amphibian communities have been often understudied in river backwater complexes. Therefore, in 2018 and 2019, we conducted inventories of the herpetofauna abundance and species inventory at two wetland preserves, one located La Grange Reach and one located in the Alton Reach of the Illinois River. The Emiquon Preserve (Emiquon) in Fulton County and Merwin Preserve (Merwin) in Brown County, Illinois. Emiquon is made up of two restored floodplain lakes (Thompson and Flag lakes) with a managed connection to the river used to regulate water levels in the preserve. Merwin also is a restored floodplain lake area (Elbow and Long lakes) that has an open connection through a notch in the levee. The time scale of restoration, habitat differences, and variation in water connection to the river could drive differences in herpetofauna presence at the two areas. Herpetofauna were evaluated at both sites using: cover boards arrays of metal and wood, drift fence with pitfall traps, nocturnal call surveys, larval dip netting, visual encounter surveys, and turtle traps. Preliminary analysis indicates minimal differences in species composition differences with slight differences in abundances. Future research will be preformed to increase the sample size to obtain better population estimates of species to understand the population abundance and composition.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020|
|State||Published - 2020|