Global Warming Is Killing Frogs And Salamanders In Yellowstone Park, Researchers Say

Disappearance of ponds in Yellowstone lead to great loss of frogs and salamanders in Yellowstone-

I guess we would call them “old-timers” now — folks like myself — but I remember there used to be many more ponds on the Northern Range of the Park. From the road the loss is especially apparent near Junction Butte, “Little America,” and the lower part of Slough Creek. “Little America” as a place name came from a large pond that had the general shape of the United States when viewed from Specimen Ridge.

How long since there has been water in Phantom Lake?

There are many backcountry losses too.

I don’t know if it is warming per se, but there is no longer any carryover water in the ponds at the end of the year, and there isn’t enough snow in the winter to refill them. They are dry by the end of June if they hold water at all.

Science News has just written a popularized version of the paper Climatic change and wetland desiccation cause amphibian decline in Yellowstone National Park.




  1. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    Western newt popuplations are down on my property in western Oregon. In 1988, when purchased, I would see several a day during the winter. Now it is a rare event.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Thanks Barb,

    I think most of us who spend time outdoors and watched over the years can see it. The West is drying; and one or two wet years doesn’t change the trend.

    One thing that can help is beaver restoration, although that would not fill the glacial pothole ponds in Yellowstone.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan