Frogs - Habitat Survey

Frogs - Habitat Survey


A healthy waterway usually means that the surrounding land or catchment is in good condition. Alternatively, an unhealthy waterway indicates something is wrong in the catchment. To gain an understanding of the condition of a waterway, you can conduct habitat surveys to establish the quality of the habitat for supporting aquatic life. Habitat surveys could be repeated in the future to determine if the habitat has improved or changed since the initial one was completed.

A habitat survey involves examining the vegetation along the waterway and the condition of the banks. The condition of the vegetation in and around the waterway (referred to as the riparian zone) provides a good indication of the likely conditions of the aquatic environment. When the riparian vegetation is degraded, it provides less protection against land-use impacts and the subsequent deterioration of water quality and of conditions for aquatic plants and animals.


The aim of this session is to:

  • Investigate your local waterways and determine habitat quality


  • PowerPoint
  • A pencil
  • A Star Rating Meter (instructions provided):
    • 1 split pin
    • Glue
    • Scissors
    • Photocopy of the Star Rating Meter template
    • Thin cardboard or laminate the Star Rating Meter template
  • An environmental report card:
    • Suggested materials include: pencils, coloured and plain paper

Notes for teachers

  • Students learn about habitat factors by studying the information provided on the PowerPoint.
  • Students design and construct an environmental report card for their local waterway. These could be submitted as a booklet, poster or a certificate.
  • The following information should be included in the design:
    • Name of people conducting the assessment
    • Date of survey
    • Date of last survey
    • Length of waterway examined (in meters)
    • Name of waterway
    • Rating scores for each of the five factors:
      • Bank vegetation
      • Verge vegetation
      • Instream cover
      • Bank erosion and stability
      • Riffles, pools and bends
    • Overall waterway rating: 5star, 4star, 3star, 2star, 1star
    •  A sketch of the waterway assessed.
  • Select a local river, stream or wetland that has safe access.
  • Students use the Star Rating Meter to determine the scores for the five factors at the site. Follow the instructions on how to use the meter.
  • Record the overall rating on the environmental report card.
  • Students should interpret results. Below is a list of suggested questions for students:
    • If different sites were assessed, were their differences or similarities between them?
    • Identify the habitat requirements of frogs. Is the habitat suitable?
    • Could you hear frogs at the site? What does this indicate about the quality of the site?
    • Did you see or smell any evidence of poor habitat quality?
    • What impact does poor habitat quality have on frog populations?

Estimated Duration

  • Introduction: 10 mins
  • Habitat assessment of local waterway: 40 mins (depending on amount of sites sampled)


  • Teachers notes and students activities
  • Power point presentation