People of The Fargo Project: Ben Bauer, Restoring Frogs
Ben Bauer, a NDSU Natural Resource Management graduate student, will reintroduce frogs into a restored urban wetland habitat and monitor the success of the reintroduced frogs.
This fulfills one of the goals for World Garden Commons at Rabanus Park—to create an interactive area for the residents of Fargo to enjoy the sights and sounds of birds, crickets and frogs. However, there is just one problem—there are no frogs that naturally live in these areas.
“The Fargo Project is the first project of its kind to create a wetland from former drainage ditches. Nothing like this has ever been attempted. As of right now, we do not know if the frogs will survive in these places,” Ben says.
Since the late 1980s, populations of frogs, toads and other amphibians have declined because of habitat loss, invasive species, disease, and pollution. Without wetlands, frogs and other amphibian species cannot survive and reproduce. To prevent further decline in amphibian populations, we need to know how our actions impact them.
Amphibians are important components of many ecosystems. Frog populations can be an early warning system when there is something wrong with the environment. Frogs and other amphibians essentially breathe through their skin, which makes them susceptible to pollutants and other chemicals. Similar to adult frog skin, frog eggs absorb nutrients from the outside. This can cause the embryos inside the eggs to die or form mutations, such as extra limbs or no eyes.
Ben continues: “If this project is successful, this could be a great tool in conservation for amphibian and other animal species. Not only will it be beneficial for wildlife but for humans as well. Frogs are an ideal environmentally friendly pest controller. The hope for these sites is that they will bring people together from all walks of life.”
Ben’s undergrad degree is in NRM with a double minor in zoology and range science. He explains, “I chose NRM because I want help enhance and conserve our natural resources and heritage for future generations.”