The Toad People are Coming – to Chilliwack!

Actually they were already here as this film features many awesome Chilliwack citizens, FVC staff and volunteers, and the story of our Toad Tunnel project in Ryder Lake. This visually stunning documentary outlines the efforts of concerned citizens and community groups around the province working to save species at risk.

The Wilderness Committee is co-hosting the event with the FVC. Part of the proceeds will be invested back into our toad tunnel project work.  Advance tickets are advisable and available online, cost it pay what you can. Check out the trailer here for a sneak peek and then come join us for the Chilliwack screening of the Toad People.

Recruiting amphibian detectives!

It’s that time of year again…the Amphibians are on the move to their breeding pond and we need help tracking them!

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Do you enjoy cold walks on rainy nights?  Would you like to learn how to identify the different amphibians who are on the move? If so sign up to be an amphibian road survey volunteer and help us monitor the roads in Ryder Lake!

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 searching 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 Sofi (Sofi@fraservalleyconservancy.ca) 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.

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

Amphibian Fencing Volunteers Needed Sunday February 26th

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help install directional amphibian fencing for our Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Project. The Toad Tunnel is not only used by the thousands of toadlets in the summer but also by the ecologically important breeding adults in the early spring as they migrate to their breeding pond. 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 Sunday February 26th starting at 10am (wrapping up at 1 pm). If you are interested in volunteering for this project to protect some frogs and toads please send Sofi an e-mail so she can send you further instructions!

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

Tiny Toadlets use the Tunnel!

On July 7th, the same day as we started our sub-adult Western toad road surveys, we installed a camera in the tunnel so that we could count the number of sub-adult toads that used the tunnel during the migration.  The camera was in the tunnel from July 7th – 20th, and took a picture every minute, resulting in 13,119 photos to sort through after the migration was over. Thanks to Lisa and Sasha, who patiently counted all of the toads seen on the photos, we documented a total of 34,915 sub-adult toads using the tunnel!

We tried a new and improved camera set-up this year, and while it worked better, we can’t directly compare numbers between last year and this year. But we are very pleased and excited that so many sub-adult toads used the tunnel rather than the road. There were also other critters seen on the pictures such as a skunk, possum, and a deer mouse. Interestingly, the photos also revealed several people looking into the tunnel to see how the toads were making out. We discovered that after a human was seen at the entrance, fewer toads used the tunnel until about 15 minutes after the person left… an interesting insight into their behaviour!

We are now working with our partners on ideas on how we can improve the directional fencing for next year to ensure that the tunnel captures even more toads and the always important but rarely seen breeding adults. Stay tuned!

Thanks to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for funding our monitoring work of the tunnel!

HCTF

Toadlet Migration 2016

Thanks to all the help from our volunteers and project supporters the toadlets have safely migrated from their wetland breeding pond to their forest home. There were far fewer toadlets killed on the road this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we did encounter some challenges with our directional fencing and the numbers of toadlets migrating were less this year, we were really happy with their acceptance of the tunnel as a safe way to cross under the road. Yet again we learned some important lessons from the toads this season, and we will use this information to continue to improve the crossing. We are optimistic that we will have an even better fencing solution in place that will help direct the toadlets next year. We also expect the migrating numbers will likely return to a more normal (higher) level in 2017, based on past migration trends.

The local papers had some good coverage of the event:

Chilliwack Progress

Chilliwack Times article and a great video showing the toadlets in action!

 

 

 

 

Ryder Lake Amphibian Fencing Day – looking for volunteers for Wednesday June 15th

We are looking for a few energetic volunteers to help us install directional amphibian fencing for our Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Project prior to this year’s migration. We will be working alongside our project partners from Lafarge to ensure the tiny toadlets are directed toward the a safe road crossing location at the tunnel they helped us build last year.  We start at 10 am (Wednesday June 15th) and we anticipate it will take us four hours or so to complete. Lunch will be provided.

The fencing is constructed from silt fencing material attached with staples and screws to wooden stakes which are hammered into the ground. We then lay down hose and attach it to the ground with metal pins to ensure the little toadlets can sneak underneath. The most challenging part of this work is the uneven ground and navigating over fencing and working on some steeper slopes to secure the fencing well with no gaps anywhere.Volunteers must be prepared to work in hot conditions (please bring water) and will need work gloves and good footwear (hiking boots recommended).

If you are interested in volunteering for this project please respond to this email to obtain further details. To ensure we have enough supplies and directions (there is no cell service at this location) we require volunteers to sign up with us ahead of time.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email or call 604.625.0066.

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).