Last year, an estimated 96,000 toadlets migrated from ponds at 18 Avenue and 196 Street. Langley Times file photo

UPDATE: Township declines temporary road closure for toadlet migration

Last year saw an estimated 96,000 toadlets migrate from ponds at 18 Avenue and 196 Street

An environmental group that was hoping for a temporary road closure to help migrating Western toads will have to make do with warning signs instead.

At the end of June, A Rocha Canada asked the Township of Langley to implement a two-week temporary road closure on 20 Avenue between 196 and 200 Streets to help stop the carnage that occurs when cars run over the tiny creatures, which are about the size of a dime.

Each year in late June and early July, tens of thousands of the toadlets migrate from breeding ponds in two former gravel pits at 18 Avenue and 196 Street northeast to other areas of Langley and Surrey.

READ MORE: A torrent of toadlets through Langley yard

Council sent the issue back to staff who determined it would be too complicated to close down the road.

That section of 20th Avenue is a collector road, and traffic would have to be redirected to 16 Avenue and 196 Street, where many accidents have occurred, a staff report states. The City of Surrey would have to sign off on it as well.

Instead, the Township will put up signage to warn motorists about the toad migration, and A Rocha is installing wildlife fencing to help herd them into certain areas.

A Rocha, an organization based in Surrey that has done environmental work on the Little Campbell Watershed, has been monitoring the toadlet migration for five years, and has seen anywhere from 30 toads in 2015 to 96,000 in 2017.

The difference in the numbers has to do with the three-to-five year breeding cycle of the females.

“This is the only location where we have found Western toads to be breeding, and we’ve looked in about 30 other different potential habitat wetlands throughout the watershed, and this is the only place we’ve found them,” said biologist Christy Juteau, who spoke to Township council on behalf of A Rocha Canada on June 25.

The Western toad is a species at risk, and is of special concern federally.

Its population is declining, especially throughout the United States. Its main threat is habitat loss, followed by road crossings, Juteau said.

Coun. Charlie Fox asked Juteau if warning signs would be appropriate instead of a road closure.

“Not really, because if you’re in a car, and the toadlets are covering the road, you just wouldn’t have a chance to miss them. So they may be aware, but they’ll just listen to them squishing underneath them,” Juteau said, adding that people often use 20 Avenue and 196 Street as a short cut to avoid the light at 200 Street and 16 Avenue.

“I think awareness is a great idea, raising awareness, and we’ve been in touch with all the landowners in the area, so they’re quite aware,” Juteau said. “But I think people who zip through from 200th to 16th …We’d like to avoid those people. Local residents, it’s OK, it’s not very high density… If we could avoid those others who don’t live there to come through, that would be ideal.”

Coun. Petrina Arnason noted that the City of Chilliwack also had a road closure for toads, and eventually built a toad underpass instead.

“I’m very supportive of this,” she said.



miranda@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Structure fire destroys Surrey tire shop, closes section of Fraser Highway

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

Peace Arch Hospital, Sources requesting volunteers

Program to help seniors get home safely after hospital stay

Winners to come to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

Former Zellers to also include a gym and daycare

Delta looking to add over 30 dedicated pickleball courts by 2022

The program would see eight outdoor pickleball courts built in North Delta before the end of 2019

UPDATE: Missing 17-year-old girl found

Mikayla Logan was last seen in Guildford on Tuesday, May 14

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Man arrested after police standoff and fire at Abbotsford home

Suspect allegedly breached conditions to not be near victim or her home

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopened after multi-vehicle crash east of Chilliwack

Westbound lanes near Herrling Island were closed for hours amid busy holiday weekend traffic

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Most Read