Lizards & Snakes
Lizards & Snakes
Cortland Herpetology ConnectionAbout the New York Amphibian and Reptile Atlas
Information about the N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation's program to document the distribution of herps throughout the state.
A reliable set of baseline data is necessary to understand and document changes in wildlife populations over an extended period of time. In New York, however, a comprehensive survey of amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna or "herps") has never been completed. Although field guides provide us with ranges of the species that occur here, we really do not know the exact locations of our herpetofaunal populations. Nor do we know the details of their activities.
In 1990 the Department of Environmental Conservation launched a survey of ambystomid salamanders (species of the genus Ambystoma). This survey grew to include all species of herps and, within a few years, became the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project.
The goal of the Atlas Project is to document the distribution of all of the herpetofauna in New York State. The state has been divided into 985 atlas blocks which coincide with USGS 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle maps. Volunteers across the state fill out Herp Survey Cards documenting their observations and return them to us. The information provided includes county, town and quad where the species was seen, date of observation and information on the individual(s) seen, as well as the observer's name and address.
This information will provide baseline data on the current status of our herp populations, which will then be available for comparison with future population studies. We also hope to contribute to the scientific knowledge of the life history of some species by carefully recording observations such as dates of emergence from hibernation, calling by frogs and presence of egg masses, larvae or neonates.
The Amphibian and Reptile Atlas is a reality because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers across the state who record their observations on survey cards and submit them. Volunteers range in age from children to retired persons and come from all backgrounds. Each has a desire to experience the outdoors and to have a hand in its conservation. We are grateful for your participation and dedication.
For more information, contact project director Al Breisch.
Herp Atlas Staff:
Alvin R. Breisch, Project Director
John W. Ozard, Computer Systems Design
Kimberley Corwin Hunsinger, Project Coordinator
Alison Keeble-Preville, Data Control
Amphibian and Reptile Atlas
Wildlife Resources Center
108 Game Farm Road
Delmar, NY 12054-9767
Special thanks to all those who generously loaned images and other help. See our credits page for more information.