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.

AGM June 16th! Come out and hear about the conservation work being done in your community…

 

Annual General Meeting

June 16th, 2015 7:00 pm 33167 2nd Avenue, Mission BC

Join us at our new office space to hear and see what we’ve been up to this past year!

  • Be inspired by a presentation from Dr. Jasper Lament, CEO of the Nature Trust of BC, as he shares with us his vision for land trusts
  • See presentations on projects we have been working on
  • Meet the FVC staff, Directors, and members
  • Ask questions and make suggestions

Light snacks will be served during a meet and greet starting at 6:30, meeting commences at 7:00pm

If you have any questions feel free to phone the office (604-625-0066) or e-mail joanne@fraservalleyconservancy.ca

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.

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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.

Crossing structure installation – Day 1 and 2

Installation of the amphibian tunnel in Ryder Lake is progressing well!  The fabulous team from Lafarge Canada Ltd. spent day 1 excavating out the road and prepping the site for the culvert installation.  Day 2 started with more site preparation before the very heavy concrete culvert sections started to arrive from Langley Concrete.  In order to span the road, 5 concrete culvert sections were required.  These culvert pieces are too heavy to be moved by an excavator therefore a crane truck was brought in to move the pieces.  An excavator was used to help piece the sections together.  After all 5 pieces were painstakingly pieced together, with some very creative maneuvering, then the excavator started to back-fill the culverts with gravel.  By back-filling part of the culvert with gravel we are reducing how far down the amphibians have to climb to use the crossing structure.  Day 3, tomorrow, will be spent installing the risers for the storm drain “windows” which will allow air movement and moisture into the crossing structure.  We will also be prepping the ends of the culvert for installation of amphibian fencing to help direct amphibians to the crossing structure.  Check back for more updates!

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Excavating the site.

Prepping site for culvert.

Prepping site for culvert.

 

Culvert sections arrive from Langley Concrete

Culvert sections arrive from Langley Concrete

Using the crane truck to move culvert sections into place.

Using the crane truck to move culvert sections into place.

Maneuvering culvert sections into place using crane and excavator.

Maneuvering culvert sections into place using crane and excavator.

Many loads of road base and gravel were trucked to the site.

Many loads of road base and gravel were trucked to the site.

Gravel was spread by hand in the culvert - thanks Dan!

Gravel was spread by hand in the culvert – thanks Dan!

Culvert sections in place and ready for day 3.

Culvert sections in place and ready for day 3.

Elk View Toad Tunnel Construction update

Unfortunately, construction challenges delayed the installation of the amphibian crossing structure on Elk View Road the week of May 19th.  Construction has been rescheduled for June 1 – June 5, 2015. A full road closure will be in effect starting at 7am on Monday June 1st.  Elk View road south of Ryder Lake road will be completely closed during construction (just south of the mailbox pullout).  A map of the suggested detour routes is shown below:

TrafficMgmtPlan2015