Drift Fence Research
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  Drift fence arrays are one of the most effective techniques to sample wildlife species in a particular area.  Not only can you obtain information on species, but you can extract information about wildlife populations and estimate the number of species in a given area.  Drift fences require a fair amount of initial work, but once they are constructed they are very low maintenance and produce a great deal of information with little effort. 
  Drift fences can be constructed with different materials depending on the habitat type in which they are installed (i.e., aluminum flashing, sheets of metal, silt-fencing, etc).  Metal materials are better used in dryer habitats.  Silt-fencing is best used in wet habitats where water can flow through the fence.  Different types of traps are placed along the bottom of the fence to capture animals.  Bucket or pitfall traps (5 gal. buckets buried) are commonly used with drift fence arrays.  Funnel traps and a variety of other trapping techniques can be used along a drift fence to capture different species.  Simply, as animals migrate towards a specific area (i.e., a breeding pond) they move along the fence and are captured in a trap. 
  Drift fences can be placed stratigically along a creek, gully or ephemeral wetlands where wildlife movements are higher.  Drift fences can capture hundreds of animals in a given night, especially during heavy rain when certain species migrate to wetlands to breed.
  Within State Parks, or State, Federal, Local or Private wildlife preserves it is critical to have current information about what species are found within that area.  If you don't know what species you have and their specific requirements you can not properly manage, protect or preserve them.  Drift fences can be placed in different ecosystem types to obtain data about different groups of animals.  Drift fences generally capture a variaty of different animals such as: snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs, salamanders, insects and other invertebrates and small mammals.  Drift fences also capture species that are secretive, fossorial or that move during the night or are otherwise difficult to capture or observe.  Drift fences are a relatively easy method to obtain data on wildlife.
  This page is a collection of information about drift fence surveys being conducted within Tarkiln Bayou and Big Lagoon State Parks.  This page contains photos and information about species being documented during these studies.  This page will be updated as often as possible.  Enjoy the creepy critters! 


(Above) A drift fence array in a "Scrub" type ecosystem/habitat: Big Lagoon SP.  Added 6 Oct. 09
Members of the Venturing Crew #626 (from Pensacola, FL) constructed the aluminum drift fence array (above) at Big Lagoon.  A special thanks goes out to Crew #626! 
(Below) An Ephemeral wetlands with a drift fence array: Tarkiln Bayou Preserve SP


  On May 5th and 7th, 2009 Freshman students, teachers and faculty members from Trinity Valley School in Ft. Worth, TX assisted with the construction of a large drift fence array on Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park.  Approximately 48 students and adults installed 450 ft of silt-fencing completely around an ephemeral wetlands!
  This study will be an ongoing project and may last through 2010.  A great deal of important wildlife information will be gathered from this study.
  I wish to extend a sincere THANK YOU to everyone from Trinity Valley School that put in so much hard work on this project!  Be sure to check this page from time to time for updates on site captures, new photos and news!
  I would also like to thank the following employees of Big Lagoon State Park for obtaining needed materials and providing field assistance for the drift fence project:
Anne Harvey, Tammy Matthews, Mike Louie and Chris Telhiard. 
I would especially like to thank Tammy Matthews and Brett Kelly (of the Pace, FL Sherwin Williams store) for providing five, five gallon buckets for the research projects!

Photos of Trinity Valley School Freshman - Ft. Worth, TX (Below)


(Above) Survivors/Students after the drift fences were completed!
(Below) Seven photos of students constructing the drift fence array








Wildlife Captures at the Drift Fence Array - Photos (Below)


(Above) Pine-woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis)
(Below) Narrow-mouthed Frog (Gastrophryne carolinensis)



(Above) Oak Toad (Bufo quercicus)
(Below) S. Leopard Frog (Rana utricularia)



(Above) Box turtle (Terrapene carolina)
Drift Fence Trapping Results
Tarkiln Bayou SP:
Species Documented in traps or within the vicinity of the drift fence array.  Tarkiln Bayou Preserve SP
Spring 2009 Trapping Results:
Species #)  Common name - Scientific name - Number documented
1) S. Cricket frog - Acris g. gryllus - Abundant, calling and observed often
2) Oak toad - Bufo quercicus - 7
3) S. toad - Bufo terrestris - 1
4) E. Narrow-mouthed frog - Gastrophryne carolinensis - 91!
5) Pine Woods treefrog - Hyla femoralis - 1, calling occasionally
6) Squirell treefrog - Hyla squirella - calling once
7) S. Leopard frog - Rana utricularia - 14
8) Box turtle - Terrapene carolina - 1
9) Six-lined Racerunner - Cnemidophorus s. sexlineatus - 2
10) Ground Skink - Scincella lateralis - 1
11) S. Black Racer - Coluber constrictor priapus - 1
12) Banded Water snake - Nerodia f. fasciata - 1
13) E. Ribbon snake - Thamnophis s. sauritus - 1
(Updated: 18 May, 2009 = 123 native, herpetofaunal captures)
Exotic Species:
1) Greenhouse Frog - Eleutherodactylus planirostris - 3
Unique Invertebrates:
1) Hentz's Striped Scorpion - Centruroides hentzi - 2
Fall 2009 Trapping Results:
* Indicates a new species documented at or near the drift fence site.
1) S. toad - Bufo terrestris - 2
2) E. Narrowmouth frog - Gastrophryne carolinensis - 1
*3) E. Spadefoot toad - Scaphiophus h. holbrooki - 3
*4) Louisiana Newt - Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis - 1
5) Six-lined Racerunner - Cnemidophorus s. sexlineatus - 5
6) Ground Skink - Scincella lateralis - 2
*7) Corn snake - Elaphe g. guttata - 1
*8) E. Coachwhip - Masticophis f. flagellum - 2
*9) Crowned Snake - Tantilla coronata - 1
(Updated: 12 November, 2009 = 18 native, herpetofaunal captures)
Exotic Species:
1) Greenhouse Frog - Eleutherodactylus planirostris - 1
Unique Invertebrates:
1) Hentz's Striped Scorpion - Centruroides hentzi - 4
Special thanks to Tammy Matthews, Ryan Harms and Stephanie Doyle for volunteer work at the drift fence in the Fall of 2009!
(Below) A native Scorpion: Big Lagoon SP.  Scorpions have been documented in Big Lagoon & Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Parks.


Pg. 8: Aquatic Trapping