Windebank Creek Update 2016

Every year in November we look forward to having a volunteer event at our Windebank Creek property that corresponds with the seeing the salmon returning to spawn. Unfortunately this year we had to cancel our annual event due to yet another serious flood that deposited over a metre of silt over the lower half of the property.

But just like the salmon, who refuse to give up on this site, so do we!

We have just approved our management plan for this property and have an interested funding source lined up to help us implement it in 2017. Nothing is confirmed yet, but we will have news about our plans and events where the community can help in the spring – so make sure you check back then!

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

A fun day celebrating wildlife in Chilliwack!

We had a great day on Saturday, hosting our annual species at risk outreach event in Chilliwack. With over 200 people attending, we heard about all sorts of interesting critters they see in their homes and backyards.

We got to meet Stomper the Barn owl, who was a great ambassador and very patient for such a long day being the center of attention, and learn all about owls and what they eat.

There was big Bullfrog and a beautiful Painted turtle, both of whom live in our local waterways, along with other rare and more common amphibians.

There were native plants on display that can be planted to enhance our backyards. Those who wanted to learn more signed up to participate in our Nature Stewards program.  If you didn’t get a chance to come out, but are interested in participating on our Nature Steward program you can still sign up by contacting us.

 

A huge thanks to our host (The Local Harvest Market), our participating partners (South Coast Conservation Program, Raptors Ridge, Precious Frog), and of course our awesome staff, board members and their helpful volunteers!

ECCC_GandC_ENG_CMYK_300dpi

 

Looking for a Board Member to add to our Team!

Yarrow Nature Day 2015

We currently have a vacancy on our board of directors that we are looking to fill. In particular, having someone with a legal, real estate, or planning background would be the best fit at this time. If you are interested in sitting on our board or know someone who may be please read or share this background document FVC Board Member Roles and Responsibilities and feel free to contact us (e-mail the board at fraservalleyconservancy.ca or call 604-625-0066)

Chilliwack Mountain Nature Walk: Saturday August 6th

Learn about the fascinating plants and animals that call Chilliwack Mountain home!

Join us for a Biologist-led nature walk at the little known Hillkeep Regional Park on the top of Chilliwack Mountain. We will explore this scenic park habitat which supports a wide range of species, both common and rare.

We will be meeting 10 am on Saturday, August 6th at the park entrance: turn off Chilliwack Mountain Road on to Grandview Drive, follow Grandview to the top of the hill, then turn right on Hillkeep Place, and meet in the cul-de-sac at the end of this road.

Please wear sturdy walking shoes and bring water and sun-protection or rain gear.
We will be walking rain or shine!

Registration for this free tour is appreciated, but not required.

 

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.

Calling all Summer Students – Amphibian Assistant Wanted!

 

 

We are accepting applications for a Student Conservation Steward to assist us with our amphibian-related projects this summer. The successful candidate will work alongside our Junior Biologist to learn and help with:

  • Recovery of the highly endangered Oregon Spotted frog in locations throughout the eastern Fraser Valley. This includes: bullfrog surveys and control, data entry and management, field equipment care and maintenance, trapping amphibians in restored habitats, as well as educational outreach to landowners and the general public.
  • Juvenile Western Toad migration monitoring, participating in the installation of fencing to direct migrating amphibians, as well as coordinating and supporting the volunteers assisting with the Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Project.
  • Management of the FVC conservation properties including invasive species control and maintenance, helping with community outreach events, and promoting conservation values to the community.

This position is a great opportunity to gain experience in the conservation field. This type of work often involves slogging through wetlands, where you will be muddy and wet all day. Alternatively, sometimes the weather is fabulous, which means long hot days working in areas with little or no shade, and lots of bugs! Amphibians like to be out at night, so that means we often work all hours of the day as well. While we ensure our staff are well prepared and have all the field gear they need, this type of work requires someone with good stamina, and an optimistic attitude and a strong sense of humour.

While we do not require extensive previous work experience, we will be seeking candidates that have some experience (work, volunteer or academic) in the following areas:

  • Physically fit and comfortable working outside in all weather conditions
  • Keen interest in local conservation issues
  • Native flora and fauna identification knowledge
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Must have access to a reliable personal vehicle as you have to be able to get to the daily meeting locations in both Mission and Chilliwack (areas where public transportation is not an option)
  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule (which can include evenings and weekends) to coincide with amphibians’ activities and public events

Additional qualifications that will be considered an asset:

  • Knowledge of amphibian biology, wetland ecology and species at risk issues (especially local species and ecosystems)
  • Field work experience; including monitoring methods, data collection, data analysis and technical reporting
  • Streamkeeper or other related volunteer experience
  • GIS knowledge and basic mapping skills
  • Experience coordinating volunteers and hosting events
  • Experience with construction projects (such as fence building)

This position is funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program; therefore, all candidates must meet the following qualifications in order to be considered:

  • Currently enrolled in post-secondary education (must have been registered full-time in the previous academic year and returning to full time studies in September 2016)
  • Be between 15 and 30 years of age (as of June 13th, 2016)
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred and be legally entitled to work in Canada

The amphibian assistant will be hired as a term employee starting after June 13th and ending August 27th, 2016. The rate of pay will be $14.00 per hour, 40 hours per week. Due to the short-term, timing-dependent nature of this work, the assistant is expected to be available 5 days a week for the entire work term.

To apply please email a resume and cover letter clearly outlining how you meet the above requirements through the link on the FVC website or directly to joanne (at) fraservalleyconservancy.ca (please ensure you put Student Conservation Steward Application in the subject line). Resumes will be accepted until 8:00 am Monday 30th, 2016. Applicants who meet the criteria for an interview will be contacted by June 1st and interviews will take place the week of June 6th.