RLAPP Toadlet Migration 2015

Check out this videos from the Western toad migration in Ryder Lake last summer.  There are hundreds of tiny toads moving along this ~35 meter stretch of fencing towards one of the safe crossing routes. The toadlets even seem to prefer the smooth fence material for migration over the adjacent grass!

 

 

 

Amphibian Monitoring Volunteers

Do you enjoy cold walks on rainy nights?  Sign up to be an amphibian road survey volunteer!The Fraser Valley Conservancy is looking for tough volunteers to help with night time amphibian surveys as a component of our Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Project.  The objective of this survey is to determine the effectiveness of our toad tunnel and associated fencing at reducing road mortality.  We will be counting live and dead amphibians along a stretch of Ryder Lake and Elk View roads in Chilliwack, BC.

Volunteers must be prepared to walk 6 km in cold, dark and wet conditions while hunting for amphibians.  Surveys will start after dark and last until the survey is complete, generally 1-3 hours.  You will need weather appropriate gear (rain jacket, rain pants, boots or waterproof shoes, gloves).

Unfortunately, surveys cannot be planned in advance as they are completely dependent on rainy weather.  If you are interested in volunteering for this project please e-mail us and you will be added to a contact list.  When it looks like conditions are going to be good (i.e. wet) an e-mail will be sent out requesting volunteers for a specific day and time.  Usually this e-mail is sent the day before or sometimes the day of a survey.  Unfortunately, only a small group can help each night so only the first couple of people to respond can volunteer on a given night. However, there will be lots of opportunities!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail or call (604-625-0066).

Fencing successfully installed at the Toad Tunnel!

Toad fencing Volunteers 2016.

Toad fencing Volunteers 2016.

A huge thank you to the awesome group of volunteers who showed up on Saturday morning and installed fencing to guide migrating frogs and toads through the new toad tunnel!

Adult frogs, salamanders, and toads are now on their annual spring migration from their forest homes to various ponds and wetlands where they will lay their eggs.  The newly installed fencing will guide them to the toad tunnel which allows safe passage under Elk View road.  We installed the fencing along the forest side of the road (opposite the breeding pond) to guide the animals safely through the tunnel and towards the wetland.

We also added some fabulous compost/sand mix from Biocentral to the tunnel making it more like the natural environment.

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Amphibian Fencing Volunteers Needed!

We are looking for Volunteers to install amphibian fencing!

Saturday February 13th, 2016 from 10am – 1pm

Toad tunnel fencing 2015

We are currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help install directional amphibian fencing for our Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Project.  The amphibian crossing structure has been installed thanks to the contributions made by Lafarge Canada Ltd (more details).  To ensure this crossing structure is effective, we need to install fencing that will direct amphibians towards the tunnel entrance.  The adult amphibians will start migrating to the wetland for breeding in late February or early March.

The fencing will be constructed from silt fencing material attached to wooden stakes using staples or screws. This is the same type of lightweight black fabric fencing seen near construction projects.  The most challenging part of this project will likely be working in wet or muddy conditions on a steep slope. Volunteers must be prepared to work in cold or wet conditions and will need work gloves.We will be onsite at the Toad Tunnel on Saturday February 13th starting at 10am. If you are interested in volunteering for this project to protect some frogs and toads please send me an e-mail to obtain further details!  Snacks will be provided.If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail or call (604-625-0066).

Volunteers needed for a Clean-up at Windebank!

It’s that time of year again!

We are looking for volunteers to help us clean-up our Windebank property on

Saturday November 14th from 10am to 2pm.

Removing blackberry near Windebank Creek

The salmon are currently spawning in the creek so it’s the perfect time to clear out some blackberry and observe these amazing fish!  We have had some good success fighting against the blackberry over the past year but this persistent plant will just not quit.  We are looking for volunteers to help remove blackberry and prune some of the native plants.  We will have some gloves and extra pruners on hand but if you can bring your own that would be great.  Please dress appropriately for the day – who knows what the weather will bring!  The ground can be quite mucky this time of year so rubber boots are recommended. We will also be removing some garbage from the property and will have appropriate safety gear for that activity.

This fall clean-up event will take place at the usual location: the dead end at the west end of Logan Street in Mission (you will see the gate to our property which lies below the mall at the Northeast corner of Lougheed and Cedar Connector).

We will have a guest speaker at lunchtime to talk about what the fish are currently up to in the creek.

If you can confirm you will be attending  that would be great, send us a quick email to let us know so we have enough supplies on hand. If you want to just decide and show up on the day, that is fine too – the more the merrier!

Thanks for making Yarrow Nature Day so much fun!

Thank you to everybody who joined us for Yarrow Nature Day!  We were really excited to hear about all the interesting animals that have been seen in Yarrow.  We look forward to continuing our work in this unique environment through our Nature Steward Program.  If you missed hearing about our free Nature Steward program at this event and want to learn more follow this link! We are especially grateful for all the kids who helped us test out some new educational games and brought great spirit to both nature walks.

 

Pamela Zevit, from the South Coast Conservation Program, led two very interesting nature walks.  Some participants were lucky enough to see an at-risk Pacific sideband snail and a Western red-backed salamander.

 

 

We also want to thank all our project partners who made this event a success! We had a huge variety of educational games and displays!

We also had in attendance a special guest… a Coast Painted Turtle who hatched this spring!

We also had in attendance a special guest... a Coastal Painted Turtle hatched this spring!

 

Chilliwack Toad Fest 2015

Thank you to everybody who came out to support the official opening of the newly constructed “Toad Tunnel” in the community of Ryder Lake this past weekend! The day started with an official ribbon cutting ceremony with some of our project partners and City of Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

 

Representatives of some of our funding partners (TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Lafarge, the Langley Concrete Group, and Environment Canada)

Representatives of some of our funding partners (TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Lafarge, the Langley Concrete Group, and Environment Canada) assisted Mayor Gaetz cut the ribbon and open the toad tunnel.

David Redfern of Lafarge Canada presented a $10,000 cash donation to the Fraser Valley Conservany's

David Redfern, Vancouver Vice President and General Manager for Lafarge presented a $10,000 cash donation to the Fraser Valley Conservany’s President John Vissers and Executive Director Joanne Neilson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by lunch, updates on the 2015 toadlet migration, and kid friendly activities at Ryder Lake Hall. Thank you to Save-On-Foods for donating hot dogs and the Chilliwack Corn Maze for donating to our door prize!  This project would not have been possible without continuing support from the local community.  Thank you!  We enjoyed sharing the success of the first migration through the amphibian crossing structure and are looking forward to continuing to monitor these amphibian populations.

Enjoying some cake!

Enjoying some cake!

Checking out some toad displays and kid's crafts.

Kid’s crafts and toad displays at Ryder Lake Hall.

Aleesha serving some fresh local corn!

Aleesha serving some fresh local corn!

 

Getting a 'toad's eye view' of the new crossing structure.

Getting a ‘toad’s eye view’ of the new crossing structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Christina Toth for the great photos!

Toadlet Migration 2015

The Sub-adult Western toad migration in Ryder Lake is wrapping up for 2015.  These tiny toads started migrating on June 22 this year which is the earliest migration since the Fraser Valley Conservancy (FVC) started monitoring this population in 2008.  Local landowners also indicated that this is the earliest that the toads have started migrating (to their recollection).  The Western toads took advantage of the warm weather to develop quickly from eggs to tadpoles to sub-adult toads (affectionately called “toadlets”).

Western toad tadpoles developing in Hornby Lake.

Western toad tadpoles developing in Hornby Lake. Some are developing legs and getting ready to complete their metamorphosis.

Thousands of Western toad tadpoles gathering along the shore of the breeding pond.

Thousands of Western toad tadpoles gathering along the shore of the breeding pond.  Some have even completed their metamorphosis and are emerging on shore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fraser Valley Conservancy (FVC) completed 9 road surveys monitoring the toadlet migration this year.  In 2014, 59 permanent survey plots were laid out every 50 meters along Ryder Lake, Elk View and Huston roads (in the vicinity of the breeding pond).  We monitored the same plots this year and will be able to compare the results between the years.  An initial review of the data shows that there were many fewer toads found per survey where the fencing and crossing structure was installed this year compared to the same locations last year. Further analysis of the data is required to accurately report on the migration and the resultant impact of the crossing structure.

We also used time-lapse photography to see how many toadlets were using the crossing structures.  Photographs were taken every minute in several survey sessions and show hundreds of toadlets making their way through the culverts.  We quickly analyzed 2 hours of data from June 25, 2015 and found over 3500 toadlets using one of the crossing structures (that’s an average of about 29 toads/minute)!

Toadlets using the existing culvert to cross under the road.

Toadlets using the existing culvert to cross under the road.

A minute later... More toadlets using the crossing structure!

A minute later… More toadlets using the crossing structure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The toadlets were also using the new crossing structure!  Can you spot the tiny toads amidst the rocks and leaves?

At least 43 toadlets using the new crossing structure!

There are at least 31 toadlets visible on their way safely to the other side of the road!

 

Tiny toads moving along the fence towards the crossing structure.

Tiny toads moving along the fence towards one of the crossing structures.

Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program funding has supported the FVC staff in their development and implementation of this project and have committed to continue to support our work in the years to come. We look forward to continuing to monitor the amphibians in the Ryder Lake community and will report further on the migration once we have had a chance to go over more of the data!

Amphibian fencing installation!

On June 24th 2015, a great group of Lafarge Canada employees volunteered to help us install fencing to guide migrating amphibians through the new crossing structure.  Ten volunteers and and five FVC staff members installed over 350 meters of directional fencing.  Local landowners graciously allowed the FVC to install fencing on their properties which allowed for optimal layout of the fencing. Funding to support the fencing installation was provided by Vancity and the TD Friends of the Environment Fund.

We took inspiration from other projects throughout BC to design our toad guidance system.  Due to local site conditions we anticipate having to install and remove the amphibian fencing for each migration.  This means our system has to be simple to install and durable.  We chose to use silt fencing material (black plastic fabric material used primarily around construction sites for erosion control), wooden stakes, and a staple gun.

Volunteers installing directional fencing to guide amphibians to the crossing structure.

Volunteers installing directional fencing.

To attach the fencing to the ground, so the tiny toads can’t crawl under it, we used two methods.  In the forest and along the road we buried a piece of the fabric material with soil and rock.  On the hay field, we used old garden hoses and landscape staples to secure the fabric to the ground. Both methods worked to prevent the sub-adult Western toads (“toadlets”) from moving under the fence.  We also left a piece of fabric overhanging at the top of the fence to discourage amphibians from crawling over the fence.

Securing the fence to the ground with soil and rock.

Securing the fence to the ground with soil and rock.

Securing the fence to the ground using old garden hoses and ground staples.

Securing the fence to the ground using old garden hoses and landscape staples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our toad guidance system directed the migrating toadlets to two safe passages across Elk View road.  One of which is the new crossing structure installed in early June. The other safe passage was through two existing drainage culverts.  These culverts are dry when the toadlets migrate in the summer and provide another way for the toadlets to move safely across the roads towards their foraging grounds in the forests.

Directional fencing... as seen by a toad migrating away from the wetland

Directional fencing… as seen by a toad migrating away from the wetland

The fabulous fencing crew in front of the completed directional fencing.

The fabulous fencing crew in front of the completed directional fencing.