Reptile and amphibian Survey

"I believe our biggest issue is the same biggest issue that the whole world is facing, and that's habitat destruction" - Steve Irwin

Green salamander ( Aneides aeneus )

Green salamander (Aneides aeneus)

The Tennessee River Gorge Trust established a survey project in January 2017 to inventory reptile and amphibian species in the Tennessee River Gorge. Similar to birds, the presence or absence of these species is an indicator for the health of our forests and waterways. TRGT is partnering with the Orianne Society, a non-profit organization that conserves reptile and amphibian habitats, to locate and identify our herpetological species. We will use this information in conjunction with our other research projects to make science-based land management decisions to protect and maintain biological diversity in the Gorge. 

Read about the first ever "bioblitz!", a program of the Orianne Society, conducted in the Gorge here

American snapping turtle ( Chelydra serpentina )

American snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

Fence lizard ( Sceloporus undulatus )

Fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)

American toad ( Anaxyrus americanus )

American toad (Anaxyrus americanus)


Our Volunteer Herper



Rob Richie is a native Tennessean with historical family ties to the Tennessee River Gorge. He is an active volunteer in the TRGT Water Quality Program and also is coordinating field surveys for our reptiles and amphibians. Rob spent his youth and spare time as an adult searching for and studying herps in the Southern Appalachians and Cumberland Plateau. He also volunteers with the Orianne Society out of Georgia, is a member of the Southeast Partners in Reptile and Amphibian Conservation, and has been certified in the Tennessee Naturalist Program.

Rob earned a Biology Degree from UTC and subsequently began working for TVA in the Nuclear Power Group, retiring in 2015. He currently lives in Chattanooga with his wife of 37 years, Mary Jo, and has two daughters; one of whom lives in Chattanooga and the other in Columbus, Ohio. 

Research News