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Letter to the Editors, Volume 53 Issue 3: Species at Risk with Trent Wetlands Development

The site of the future arena development and CleanTech Commons is home to at least 24 federally protected species at risk. While the university denies that these species are present, multiple independent surveys by local naturalists going back to the 80s have proven them wrong. Among these protected species are the endangered monarch butterfly that breeds in numbers on the abundant milkweed present in the field that will disappear once the arena is built to allow for parking spaces.

The western chorus frog (Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence lowlands population), federally threatened, also breeds on the arena site. This small treefrog can be found in April breeding in just about every wetland on the Trent campus, their calls echoing throughout the rich silver maple swamps and cattail marshes. Don’t believe us? Records of this frog can be found publicly on the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas as well as on iNaturalist.ca (you can find records of this and 800+ other species on our Trent Bioblitz project). In fact, the Trent campus has the largest concentration of these frogs in all of Peterborough County. The La Prairie housing development in Quebec was quashed by the Environment Ministry in 2016 because of a population of western chorus frogs, so why is Trent and our government not protecting this threatened population? Why are they denying sightings that are right in front of them? Why won’t they stand up for our environment?

– Basil Conlin

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