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

Replica totem pole to be raised at Peace Arch Park

‘Reconciliation ceremony’ will include SFN leaders, provincial politicians

ELECTION QUESTIONS: Does Surrey need its own police force?

Who’s on the right side of Surrey RCMP’s contract issue debate? That’s for voters to decide on Oct. 20

WEB POLL: Is Surrey a safer city since the last election?

Crime and public safety continue to be hot button election issues

Delta resident raises more than $100K for Easter Seals

Archie Campbell has rappelled down the side of a building six times to raise money for disabled kids

Gill says he’s ‘prepared’ to make handguns ‘biggest’ issue in Surrey civic election

Surrey First slate reveals second part of its public safety platform Thursday

VIDEO: Tour de Valley riders visit Surrey elementary school

Students create signs to support riders

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Woman files complaint over treatment of cat with two broken legs

Ariel Johnston of Abbotsford says her pet was sent home without pain medication

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read