Year of the Frog




USFWS Customer Service Center

Ways You Can Make A Difference:

  1. Participate in Frogwatch USA
  2. Homeowner's Guide to Protecting Frogs: Lawn and Garden Care

Captain Ribbit says join the frog force. Poster of a cartoon drawn frog in a spacesuit saluting. 1. Participate in Frogwatch USA
Help scientists conserve frogs and toads by gathering information about your local species. Anyone can volunteer! You do not have to be a frog or toad expert to make a contribution; all you need is an interest in frogs and toads. Participate in Frogwatch USA or the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. You can also learn about other volunteer amphibian monitoring opportunities at Frogweb.

2. Homeowner's Guide to Protecting Frogs: Lawn and Garden Care
You may not think that you can make a difference, but caring for your lawn in an environmentally sensible way can have a bigger impact than you might think.

You can help keep the environment clean and the frogs healthy by following these simple tips. If everyone does their part to protect the environment, all types of fish and wildlife, including frogs, will enjoy a cleaner, healthier environment.

Choose non-chemical weed controls whenever possible:
Mulching, spading, hoeing and pulling up weeds are good ways to avoid weed growth rather than applying weed killer.

Minimize fertilizer use:
Overfertilization is a common problem. Fertilizing more than the recommended rate does not help plants grow better and often harms them. In addition, excess fertilizer will likely wash into streams and rivers and may lead to amphibian deformities and deaths. Researchers at Oregon State University recently discovered that even low levels of nitrates (a compound found in fertilizers) are enough to kill some species of amphibians. Help prevent pollution from fertilizer by taking these actions:

  • Leave the grass clippings from mowing to decompose on your lawn (feeding your lawn this way is equal to fertilizing it once or twice a year).
  • Use compost in your garden to develop healthy soils and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Have your soil tested to find out exactly what nutrients it needs in order to avoid applying unnecessary fertilizers. Your County Agricultural Extension Service will test your soil for a reasonable fee.
  • Use organic fertilizers rather than synthetic ones. Organic fertilizers release more slowly into the environment and create healthier soils.
  • Apply fertilizer when the soil is moist and then lightly water. This will help the fertilizer move into the root zone instead of blowing or washing away. However, be sure to check the weather forecast in order to avoid applying fertilizers immediately before a heavy rain which may wash the fertilizers into the nearby streams.
  • Calibrate your applicator to make sure you apply the correct amount of fertilizer.
Reduce your dependence on pesticides:
  • Minimize the attraction of pests such as rats, therefore reducing the need for pesticides, by moving wood piles away from the house and clearing away litter and garbage.
  • Provide good drainage to prevent standing water that will attract pests such as mosquitoes. This will eliminate the need to apply bug sprays.
  • Plant native grasses, shrubs, and trees. Native plants are often hardier than non-native plants and less susceptible to pests and disease.
  • Put an assortment of plants in your yard to increase biological diversity and encourage a variety of beneficial organisms that provide natural pest control.
  • Rotate the plants in your annual garden. Changing the type of plants you grow each year makes it harder for pests dependent on a certain type of plant to become established, and therefore, eliminates the need for pesticides.
  • Grow plants that are natural insect repellents, such as lemon balm, among your flowers and vegetables to help keep unwanted insects away.
Other Suggestions:
  • Keep litter, pet wastes, leaves, and debris out of street gutters and storm drains. These outlets drain directly into lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. Pet wastes contain bacteria and viruses that can threaten fish, wildlife, and people.
  • Never dump oil, antifreeze, or other household chemicals into storm drains or sewers, down the drain of your sink, or into the toilet. Contact your local Solid Waste Management Office to find out how to dispose of these materials properly.

Many of the methods described above are part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to pest control. IPM is a common-sense approach that uses good planning, pest monitoring, and appropriate control methods, including the judicious use of pesticides when necessary, to get the best long-term results with the least disruption of the environment. To get more information on IPM, check with your County Agricultural Extension Service, the National Pesticide Information Center, environmental organizations, or your public library. Many state universities have IPM information that you can access through their websites. Other lawn and garden care information sources include your state’s natural resource agencies, native plant societies, local conservatories, and greenhouses.

Last updated: September 2, 2008