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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Amphibian Underpasses Coming Soon To Monkton

Woody Jackson
This is one of three paintings Vermont artist Woody Jackson created to support the SOS campaign.

Why did the salamander cross the road? Soon the answer to that riddle might just be, "To check out the new tunnel."

It's official, there will soon be two amphibian crossing tunnels under Monkton Road, thanks to a successful fundraising effort by a group of partners that includes the town of Monkton and the Charlotte-based Lewis Creek Association.

This week the Lewis Creek Association announced $100,000 has been raised toward the project's $380,000 price tag, and that's enough to get the project underway:

During our final fundraising drive, an Indiegogo online campaign that ran from March 4 through April 27, ... we finally reached our original fundraising goal of $100,000. Indie enabled us to raise $42,780 of which $25,932 came from online donations and $16,848 from off line gifts. Needless to say, we are celebrating! Since then, we received an additional $3,500. We had 375 online funders from Mumbai to Monkton with donations ranging from $10 to $2,500 and 25 more people who mailed checks that did not appear on the Indie site.

The online campaign was bolstered by incentive gifts including artwork created for the cause and donated by Vermont artist Woody Jackson.

In an article on its website announcing the Indiegogo campaign, the Lewis Creek Association explained the need for the tunnels:

Each spring the salamanders and frogs need to move from their winter habitat on rocky forested hillsides to their breeding habitat in an adjacent swamp. This requires them to move across an increasingly busy road. Later, the adults and their young will need to return back across the road to the hillsides. At this site over half of the animals attempting the migration each year have been run over by vehicles.

And now that the goal has been reached, the group says project planning is underway:

Engineers are finalizing designs and we are in negotiations with VTrans and Monkton --- getting ready to go out to bid. Lewis Creek Association is committed to ensuring these underpasses are installed to reconnect Vermont’s most special wildlife habitat areas.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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