Happy Blue Spotted Salamander Day!
On a cold but typical February day in 2010, we received a phone call. We had received permission to go ahead with the project. This might not sound like a reason to celebrate, but it very much is.
The Iowa DNR had told us our project would receive a permit to begin collecting blue spotted salamander larvae. This, to us, meant that this beautiful little critter had a chance in Iowa. There are only two populations in the state and one population was under threat.
We had recruited the help of a world-class breeding program at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. They, more than anyone else, gave this project the legitimacy that it needed. Once the breeding is successful, we plan to release larvae into Hartman Reserve which, in specific areas, has just the right type of sandy soil and fishless vernal pools.
Non-charismatic species such as this do not often get a lot of attention. They are of as much value to the biological system as any other cute furry creature. "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." said Also Leopold. This day celebrates our ability to do the right thing.
We are still in the breeding process. We have a long way to go, but it all started on February 19.