A Chance to Speak Up for Salamanders

February 8, 2018
A spotted salamander makes it way across North Lincoln Street in Keene. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Every year, on the first warm, rainy nights of spring, thousands of amphibians make their way to vernal pools to breed. Many are killed when they must cross busy roads. Since 2006, our volunteer Salamander Crossing Brigades have helped nearly 35,000 amphibians survive the most dangerous journey of their lives.

Now, the City of Keene is considering a proposal to close the North Lincoln Street amphibian crossing site to vehicle traffic on these “Big Nights” — ensuring the safety both of migrating amphibians and of the many families who come out to witness the migration each spring.

Wood frog. (photo © Dave Huth)We’ve been asked to present the “salamander detour” proposal to Keene’s Municipal Services, Facilities, and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Keene City Hall. A show of public support at this meeting could go a long way toward making these road closures a reality. There will likely be opportunity for public comment, but even if there’s not, just showing up makes a statement that you care. You do not need to be a Keene citizen to attend.

If you plan to attend the meeting, please let us know so we can notify you if anything changes. If you have a reflective vest — the official uniform of our Crossing Brigade volunteers! — wear it to the meeting as a show of support.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or by email.

Update: On February 21, the MSFI Committee voted UNANIMOUSLY in favor of closing North Lincoln Street to vehicle traffic on amphibian migration nights! 30 people attended the standing-room-only MSFI meeting in support of the road closure proposal, several of whom made thoughtful public comments. The last step is for the full City Council to vote on accepting MSFI’s recommendation, which will happen at the next City Council meeting on March 1. This is mostly a matter of procedure, as the full Council almost never overturns a unanimous decision on the part of one of their subcommittees. Once City Council approves the proposal, we’ll let you know more about what to expect at North Lincoln Street this spring. At this point, we’re still planning to count critters there, in part so we can report on how many amphibians benefited from the decision to close the road.