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.

P1160917

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).

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.

Amphibian fencing installation

We are going to be installing fencing to direct the migrating Western toads towards the new crossing structure next week on June 24. For more information please follow this link!  We will be running two volunteer shifts, one in the morning starting at 9am and one in the afternoon starting at 1pm.  Please send us an e-mail if you are interested in helping out with this project.

Completion of the culvert installation 2015!

We had a very successful day on Elk View road today.  The culvert installation was completed and the road re-opened.  We started the day installing rip rap to stabilize the banks around the new culvert.  We also added more gravel to the culvert and over the stabilizing rip rap to allow easier passage of amphibians.  We also installed lock blocks at each end to give support to the road fill.  We worked around some very large boulders in the ground and created inviting openings for the amphibians.  The ends of the culvert will tie nicely into the directional fencing that will be installed later this month to guide the toadlets through the culvert.  The crew worked hard to clean up the road and a paving crew came in and did a great job.  We are very grateful for the fabulous Lafarge crew and all the other organizations that contributed to this project.  We are excited to see this stage of this project completed and look forward to working with this structure to help the local amphibians populations cross the road!

Installing rip rap to stabilize the bank.

Installing rip rap to stabilize the bank.

Installing lock blocks at each end of the culvert.

Installing lock blocks at each end of the culvert.

Installing safety barriers.

Installing safety barriers.

Cleaning up the road and compacting the road base.

Cleaning up the road and compacting the road base.

P1160097

Paving the road.

Compacting the asphalt.

Compacting the asphalt.

Our fabulous Lafarge construction crew: Jeff, Brandon, Joe, and Dan - thanks for all your hard work!

Our fabulous Lafarge construction crew: Jeff, Brandon, Joe, and Dan – thanks for all your hard work!

Construction Update – Day 3

We had another successful day of construction in the community of Ryder Lake thanks to Lafarge. Our talented excavator driver, Jeff, carefully carved out the bank at the ends of the culvert to allow unimpeded access for the amphibians to the crossing structure.  We also added many more loads of road base on top of the culvert after placing concrete rings around the toad “windows”.   The road base was compacted to provide a solid foundation for paving.  More gravel was added into the culvert and Brandon painstakingly spread it out by hand.

Cleaning up the end of the culvert.

Cleaning up the end of the culvert.

Adding road base to stabilize bank at end of culvert.

Adding road base to stabilize bank at end of culvert.

Compacting road base over culvert to create solid foundation for paving.

Compacting road base over culvert to create solid foundation for paving.

Cementing in the concrete rings for the drain covers (toad "windows").

Cementing in the concrete rings for the drain covers (toad “windows”).

The culvert sections now ready for finishing touches.

The culvert sections now ready for finishing touches.