Keene to Close Second Road to Protect Migrating Amphibians

March 9, 2022

From 2008 through 2021, our dedicated Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers have provided safe passage for nearly 2,500 migrating amphibians at Jordan Road, and documented more than 350 road-killed amphibians at that site. Those counts include 286 live and 24 road-killed Jefferson salamanders (pictured), which are a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New Hampshire.
(photo © Sigrid Scholz-Karabakakis)

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 roads. Our Salamander Crossing Brigades have moved tens of thousands of amphibians to safety at dozens of road crossings throughout the Monadnock Region — making an indelible impact on the lives of those individual amphibians — but we also know we can’t carry every frog across every road. Our big-picture goal is to collect data that can be used to inform more permanent solutions, such as wildlife tunnels or migration-night road closures.

In 2018, the Harris Center began working with the City of Keene to close the North Lincoln Street amphibian crossing site to vehicle traffic on “Big Nights,” ensuring the safety of migrating amphibians as well as the many families who come out to witness the migration each spring.

Now, we’re delighted to announce that the Keene City Council has voted unanimously in support of expanding those detours to the Jordan Road amphibian crossing site, as well. (This measure was first proposed in 2020, but was ultimately postponed due to the unfolding pandemic.) For more details on both sites, on our Big Night Detours page.

Although fewer individual amphibians cross Jordan Road than North Lincoln Street, the Jordan Road crossing is notable for its concentration of Jefferson complex salamanders, which are a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New Hampshire. In addition, while the North Lincoln Street crossing is closed to all vehicles on amphibian migration nights, it is important to note that Jordan Road will only be closed to through-traffic and that Jordan Road residents will still be able to drive to and from their homes when the detour is in place. As a result, although families and other community members are welcome to visit the North Lincoln Street crossing site when that road is closed for amphibians, we ask that only trained Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers in proper safety attire come to the Jordan Road crossing.

Keene is the first — and, so far, only — community in New Hampshire to close roads for the protection of migrating amphibians, and their decision to do so was based in large part on data collected by our Salamander Brigade volunteers. This is the power of community science! Closing two short stretches of road for a few nights each spring may seem like a small thing, but to the thousands of amphibians who call the Robin Hood Park ecosystem home − and to all of the Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers who have helped shepherd them to safety year after year − it’s really not small at all.

Contact Us

For more information on the amphibian road closures or our Salamander Crossing Brigade program, see our Salamander Crossing Brigade webpages or contact Brett Amy Thelen by email.