Mine-drainage treatment wetland as habitat for herptofaunal wildlife

Michael J. Lacki, Joseph W. Hummer, Harold J. Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Land reclamation techniques that incorporate habitat features for herptofaunal wildlife have received little attention. We assessed the suitability of a wetland, constructed for the treatment of mine-water drainage, for supporting herptofaunal wildlife from 1988 through 1990 using diurnal and nocturnal surveys. Natural wetlands within the surrounding watershed were also monitored for comparison. The treatment wetland supported the greatest abundance and species richness of herptofauna among the sites surveyed. Abundance was a function of the frog density, particularly green frogs (Rana clamitans) and pickerel frogs (R. palustris), while species richness was due to the number of snake species found. The rich mix of snake species present at the treatment wetland was believed due to a combination of an abundant frog prey base and an amply supply of den sites in rock debris left behind from earlier surface-mining activities. Nocturnal surveys of breeding male frogs demonstrated highest breeding activity at the treatment wetland, particularly for spring peepers (Hyla crucifer). Whole-body assays of green frog and bullfrog (R. catesbeiana) tissues showed no differences among sites in uptake of iron, aluminum, and zinc; managanese levels in samples from the treatment wetland were significantly lower than those from natural wetlands. These results suggest that wetlands established for water quality improvement can provide habitat for reptiles and amphibians, with the species composition dependent on the construction design, the proximity to source populations, and the degree of acidity and heavy-metal concentrations in drainage waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1992


  • Amphibians
  • Habitat
  • Mine reclamation
  • Reptiles
  • Species richness
  • Treatment wetlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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