Fraser Valley Conservancy

Fraser Valley Conservancy

July 13, 2010 09:00 ET

Do You Have a TOONIE for a TOAD? Curbside Rescue Needs Your Help.

CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 13, 2010) - Fraser Valley Conservancy (FVC) –

To view accompanying photo, click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/toad.jpg

This one made it! A returning adult Western Toad faces on-coming vehicle traffic, rain, mist and fog on its spring night-time journey back home. This is one of the lucky ones: It is at the end of the journey back to its forested habitat from the wetland where it went to breed. This toad is on at least its third migration across the road during its life time. It crossed once before to reach the forest three or four years ago as a young toadlet, and this year, being mature, it made the perilous journey to the wetland to breed and is crossing back again to its forest home. If it survives until next spring it may return again to the same wetland to breed.

Turns out, all those dark, rainy nights we've been complaining about this past spring are perfect crossing conditions, but unfortunately it also makes the adults difficult to avoid on the road. "We are seeing about 66% kill rate on the roads," says Steve Clegg, FVC's Environmental Stewardship Coordinator. Similarly, now that summer has arrived many juveniles will be killed on the roads during their summer time migration as they are impossible to see from behind the wheel. Other amphibians also impacted include Red-legged Frogs, Pacific Tree Frog, Rough Skinned Newts, and Northwestern Salamanders.

Amphibians play a vital role in any ecosystem. Healthy amphibian populations consume enormous amounts of plant material and insects during their lives: things that many other animals do not eat; and in turn, amphibians are eaten by a number of different predators. Over 98% of a year's population is eaten by others creatures. "That's why the breeding adults are so important. They represent the small percentage of the population that can contribute to future generations if they make it across the road," says Lisa Fox, Executive Director for FVC.

Many amphibians crossing roads to and from wetlands don't make it; and the summer rescue event, now in its third year, helps; but, FVC is looking towards long term viable solutions to the problem for all life stages. Lisa Fox states "It's the adults we are most concerned about. Each female is able to lay up to 16,000 eggs in one year and if a female toad is killed before she has had the chance to breed, it's a severe blow to the population potential." Long term solutions will likely be a mix of community support for cautious driving, detours and road closures, structures such as fencing and tunnels, and ongoing monitoring during each migration. "We are hoping to hire a professional biologist to help us plan some viable solutions," says Lisa.

For the upcoming juvenile migration, we have obtained increased road closure hours from the City of Chilliwack, but finding and implementing long term solutions is only about 50% funded. To help raise the necessary funds, the Fraser Valley Conservancy is holding a "Toonies for Toads" drive. For 12 toonies (that's a monthly donation of $2) you will also receive a year's membership to FVC and three editions of their newsletter.

Please visit our website for news on the Toadlet crossing!

If you would like to help please go on line to www.fraservalleyconservancy.ca and donate on-line through Canada Helps.org or through the mail to PO BOX 2026 Abbotsford BC V2T 3T8.

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