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Where we are now

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Our team of volunteers surveys a 4 miles section of the Alma Bridge Rd once a week during the newt migration season, and twice a week during the peak of migration. We document all our data using the smartphone app iNaturalist. Each volunteer takes photos of every dead newt found on the road. Photos are later uploaded to iNaturalist and added to our project. You can learn more about them here -

A graph describing newt mortality data
Newt mortality data from the first 3 years of survey

During their winter migration season, newts migrate to creeks and ponds in order to reproduce. Near Lexington Reservoir, newts need to cross Alma Bridge Rd, and many of them get hit by cars. Newts start migrating after the first rains. We find most roadkills between December and April, with fewer roadkills on November and May. The newts migrate in rainy nights, but also during drier weather conditions. For example, during February 2020 we had close to 0” of rain, but we still observed 904 dead newts on the road. Possibly, once they sense about a 4” rain threshold, they start migrating, rain or shine. The newts usually go out at night, but from time to time we would see them out on the road or on the trails during the day. Sadly, we only documented about 90 live newts in the Lexington Reservoir area, compared with 10,631 dead newts during the two fully surveyed years.

A map of the Lexington Reservoir area with newt observations
Newt mortality map: each point on the map represents a newt recorded between 2017-2020

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