Salamander Migration Closes South Brunswick's White Pine Road

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ — It’s one of the very first signs that spring is coming:

New Jersey closes roads for salamanders.

Starting Friday, White Pine Road in South Brunswick will be closed overnight for salamander migration, police announced. Drivers should use Rt. 535 or Fresh Ponds as an alternate. East Brunswick usually closed Beekman Road in the overnights as well.

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It was East Brunswick resident David Moskowitz who got local police to close the roads every February:

East and South Brunswick are in the very heart of swampy central New Jersey. The area has several “vernal pools” where amphibians live, he explained. At the very start of spring, salamanders, spring peepers (a type of tree frog) and other amphibians cross Beekman and White Pine roads to get to vernal pools on the other side so they can breed.

Find out what's happening in South Brunswickwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

On rainy February and March nights, Moskowitz and other volunteers patrol Beekman Road to record the migration.

“Some nights on Beekman we are treated to a natural spectacle of migrating salamanders and frogs. When we found slaughtered amphibians one raw night 12 years ago, we knew we needed to do something, and convinced the mayor to allow us to close the road,” Moskowitz told Patch three years ago. “A huge thanks to the East Brunswick Police Department.”

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South and Brunswick may be the only two towns in the state that shut down roads for salamander breeding. But maybe other towns should follow their lead:

“There are locations near the Great Swamp (New Vernon) and Troy Meadows (near Parsippany) where road mortality has been a problem in the past, especially for blue-spotted salamanders,” said Peter Morin, at Rutgers ecology professor.

Sussex County residents have been petitioning the state government to create a tunnel under Waterloo Road for migrating salamanders. More than 300 salamanders and frogs per hour have been counted crossing a quarter-mile stretch of Waterloo Road on peak migration nights, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

East Brunswick Shuts Down Road For Salamander Migration (Feb. 11, 2020)

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