Amphibians and reptiles (collectively regionally referred to as herpetofauna) are recognized key indicators of environmental health, this makes them ideal candidates for incorporation into a wetland functional assessment tool. Incorporating a system that considers reptile and amphibian communities would provide a stronger holistic approach to quantifying wetland value and function. This presentation will focus on the development of Michigan’s Herpetofauna Habitat Assessment Tool (Herp HAT) and the applications of this novel and important assessment tool for protecting landscapes and species. We will also discuss the role and important of the Michigan Herpetological Atlas and the role this program plays in conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles and its importance to Herp HAT.
David A. Mifsud is the senior herpetologist and owner of Herpetological Resource and Management, a conservation company dedicated to the protection and stewardship of amphibians and reptiles. He holds multiple certifications including Professional Wetland Scientist by the Society of Wetland Scientists, Professional Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America, and Professional Wildlife Biologist through The Wildlife Society. He has worked for over 20 years in wildlife biology, wetland ecology, and habitat conservation and management, with an emphasis on herpetofauna. He has conducted research, assessments, and habitat restoration targeting amphibians and reptiles across Michigan. He has written or co-authored several publications and technical reports on Michigan herpetofauna. David is Co-chair of the State of Michigan Amphibian and Reptile Technical Advisory board. He also coordinates the Michigan Herpetological Atlas project. He has conducted numerous training workshops focused on the identification, conservation and best management of amphibians and reptiles in Michigan. He serves as an expert on Great Lakes turtles for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group with focus on Great Lakes and African chelonians. Mifsud is the author of the Amphibian & Reptile Best Management Practices for Michigan and co-author of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region Revised Edition. He is also the founder and President of the newly formed Michigan Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy.