North Carolina Giant Salamander Network Meeting
When: February 14, 2019, 9:00 am - 4 pm
Where: Blue Ridge Assembly, Black Mountain, NC
Who: state/federal agency, tribal, academic, zoo, and NGO partners (invitation only)
The North Carolina Giant Salamander Network focuses on Eastern Hellbender and Mudpuppy/Waterdog conservation and includes North Carolina state and federal agencies, tribal partners, zoos, NGOs, and researchers from neighboring states. Our first gathering was in 2007, and we have had subsequent meetings every two to three years.
We Recently held our 2019 meeting in Black Mountain, North Carolina, ahead of the SEPARC/NCPARC joint conference. We had our highest attendance ever for our Giant Salamander meeting at over 60 people!
Our morning session featured four project updates for Mudpuppy and Neuse River Waterdod including population status and genetics projects. The rest of the meeting focused on Eastern Hellbenders with species status, outreach, research, surveys, and monitoring updates from over 15 federal, state, tribal, academic, and NGO partners. Several presentations had a central theme: artificial nesting habitats in North Carolina---what's going right, what's going wrong, and other research questions. For the first time ever, we also offered a oster session where students from TN State University featured and discussed their work. One of the best parts of our North Carolina GIant Salamander Network meetings is the free-for-all brainstorming session we typically hae at the end of the day. In 2016, we developed a list of top 10 research priorities for the state and the region. This year, we had a lively exchange of ideas regarding nest huts and potential topics to include in the upcoming "North Carolina Hellbender Conservation Plan" the NCWRC will write in 2019.