Wildlife in Winter Webinar 2020

Nature Stewardship School is back online!

We’re kicking things off with a fun, informative, family-friendly workshop showcasing the plants and animals of the Fraser Valley and their strategies for surviving the winter months. From birds to bears, salamanders to squirrels, turtles to trees – just how do all of these different species make it through the winter?

Learn how you can help Fraser Valley critters through the cold no matter where you live. Get tips on creating winter homes and habitat for critters, as well as responsible feeding.

Click here to register now!

 

This workshop is supported by the Community Gaming Grant. Thank you.

The results are in for Toadlet Migration 2020…

This year’s toadlet motto was “better late than never”!

Check out this first-hand account written by Molly Tilden.

On July 20thdeveloping toadlets were seen congregating on lily pads and along the shoreline. We were happy to see that, unlike last year, they were staging in the usual area with direct access to our toad fence.


Over the next 10 days, the toadlets made slow progress through the hayfield. They were seen clumped throughout the grass as they meandered towards the road. We were just beginning to wonder if they would ever leave the hay field. They finally made it to the fencing on July 29th! 

 

This year was especially exciting for us summer students because we were able to witness the toads using our brand-new Animex permanent fence that we spent much of the summer installing.

It was simply amazing to see our hard work paying off as we watched the toadlets hopping along the fence, unable to climb its slippery surface, and funneling into the toad tunnel. We didn’t see any toadlets breach the new fence. It was officially toad-proof!

As summer students, we were responsible for conducting morning and evening surveys along a six-kilometer route including Elk View, Huston, and Ryder Lake Roads.  We counted all the dead and live toads found on the road along our route. We also used a wooden sampling frame every 50m to count dead and live toadlets in 59 predetermined plots. This data is important so we can compare mortality numbers with previous years to better understand how well the tunnel and fencing is working to save toad lives. 

So is it working?

This graph shows the combined data from road surveys starting in 2014, prior to the tunnel installation, and all subsequent years post-installation, including this year’s migration. As you can see, the black graph for this year shows toadlets were only found on Elk View Road, and at the intersection with Ryder Lake Road. No toadlets were seen on Huston Road this year. The area of the road protected by the fencing and tunnel is indicated by the red bar along the bottom. The yellow graph from pre-tunnel installation shows how this was area was a toadlet crossing hot spot. And again this year the data shows that the number of toads on the road in the graph has been effectively flattened!

The 2020 toadlet migration was relatively small compared to previous years. In total 10,500 toadlets were counted in the tunnel. As a reference, in 2018 the toadlets migrated in a very similar pattern, and over 73,000 toadlets were counted in the tunnel. Many Ryder Lake locals expressed their surprise at the low numbers of toads on the road, but there are many possible explanations for this:

  • Surveys conducted in the spring of this year indicated fewer adult toads traveling to the wetland to breed, compared to previous years, which may have led to fewer egg masses and resultant toadlets.
  • Toads reach reproductive maturity at around 4-5 years of age, so low numbers of toadlets this year could reflect a low reproductive year 4-5 years ago. In spring 2016, the lowest number of migrating adult toads were observed, which may be an indicator of this cycle in action.
  • American Bullfrogs recently invaded the breeding pond and may be consuming toad tadpoles and toadlets, reducing overall numbers. See this link for information about how the FVC is working to tackle the bullfrogs: https://fraservalleyno.wpengine.com/bullfrog/.

With COVID-19 keeping people closer to home this summer, many of us have turned to local trails to seek fun and relaxation amidst the pandemic. While more people connecting with nature is great, it does pose a greater threat to the toadlets due to the increased traffic along Elk View Road from hikers. For this reason, we asked the community to use our voluntary detour route, avoiding the section of Elk View Road closest to the wetland, and to limit toad viewing to our online posts.

We want to offer a huge THANK YOU to everyone in the community who followed these guidelines and helped protect the toads. During our surveys, we saw you taking the detour and can attest that the toadlets appreciated your consideration. 

 

This project would not be possible without the generous support from our wonderful donors and volunteers along with:

Fall Native Plant Sale 2020 is open for orders!

Fall is around the corner and so is the best time to plant trees and shrubs to create a beautiful backyard space for you, and the wildlife, to enjoy!

Click on the image below to go to our new shopping experience. 

In our online shop you can read all about the plants’ characteristics and where they prefer to grow. You can select plants by the type of habitat you have and what you want your seasonal garden to look like.

The focus is on trees and shrubs for this fall sale — more than wildflowers and leafy perennials — but don’t fear a full selection of the popular perennials will be ready for our Spring sale 2021.


Important Plant Sale Information:

  • All plants must be pre-ordered through the online shop, if you are experiencing challenges with the technology please call the office (604-625-0066) so we can help.

  • Your order will be ready for pick up at an outdoor location in West Abbotsford on Saturday October 17th.When you place your order online you will select a one- hour pick-up timing window and will be sent exact location details and instructions.

  • FVC staff and volunteers  on site will be wearing masks and maintaining their distance for everyone’s safety. This means you will have to load your own plants into your vehicle, if you are unable to lift the plants yourself please bring a helper. There is no delivery service available for this sale.

  • Our COVID-19 safety protocol is in place for everyone’s safety, full details can be found here.

  • There is limited stock and popular items often sell out, orders are filled as they are received, so don’t delay!


The proceeds from this plant sale are used to restore and protect wild habitats in the Fraser Valley.

Thank you for supporting our work while you create a wonderful native plant garden!

Bradner – Mt. Lehman Project Update 2020

The Bradner – Mt. Lehman Neighbourhood (BMLN) research project is now in its second phase.  This project is based on working with the community on issues that are important to them regarding the environment in the BMLN. The results from our first year have given us direction to influence positive changes in the many systems involved in these issues. We’re grateful to the BMLN residents for their participation in the first phase, and to the City of Abbotsford for their support.

Project Timeline

Phase 1 (2019) – Community consultation on systems of environmental protection in the BMLN (see report here)

Phase 2 (2020) – Based on community consultation results – hold an interagency workshop on tree and stream protection (in progress)

Phase 3 (projected 2021/22) – Bring interagency workshop results back to the community, discuss future steps, continue to facilitate agency participation in influencing systemic changes

We are thrilled to continue receiving funding from the Vancouver Foundation for this important work. If you have questions about this project and would like to learn more, please contact aleesha@fraservalleyno.wpengine.com

 

 

Conservation during COVID-19: Please don’t love the Toads to Death!

The warm summer weather coupled with COVID-19 restrictions is motivating many people to get outdoors and enjoy nature. It is great to see this renewed interest in the natural environment and recognition of how important it is in our lives. However, we have all likely seen the news about how this increased human activity is affecting our natural areas; images of garbage on beaches, and overcrowded parks are popping up every week.
Here in the Fraser Valley we are extremely fortunate to have so much space available for us to explore and connect with nature. We must not forget that this space is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals, some of whom are at risk of extinction. One of these special creatures, the Western toad, is about to make its annual migration. Like many other aspects of our natural areas in the time of COVID-19, it is in danger of being loved to death…
The Fraser Valley Conservancy (FVC) has been working to protect amphibians in Chilliwack’s Ryder Lake area for over a decade, installing a “toad tunnel” under a busy road to allow safe passage for migrating frogs, toads, and salamanders. Five years after the tunnel has been installed the FVC continues to monitor the success of the tunnel during the annual summer Western toadlet migration. Mid-summer, thousands of tiny toadlets emerge from their natal wetland in search of a new forest home. Many make this journey safely thanks to the toad tunnel and drivers using the voluntary detour route. However, not all toadlets find the toad tunnel and are forced to cross the road. Sadly these toadlets are killed unintentionally by people trying to view the migration or not using the detour route. With increased traffic to the popular Elk Mountain trailhead, and people looking for new outdoor activities, road mortality for this year’s migrating toadlets may be worse than usual.
Please consider the challenges of conservation during COVID-19 when planning your summer activities this year. Most importantly, avoid traveling to Ryder Lake to view the toadlet migration. This year there are more concerns than ever, from maintaining safe social distancing for our staff and community members to the potential to disrupt this important ecological event. The Western toadlets are easily startled by humans simply observing them, causing them to waste crucial energy trying to flee. These toadlets are smaller than a dime, making them nearly impossible to see from a car.
We all find this mass migration event magical; this is one of the things that makes the Fraser Valley such a fantastic and biodiverse place to live. Please, help the FVC help the toads: this summer don’t love the toads to death! Follow the signed detour route during the migration.

Paper maps are available at the info sign at Ryder Lake Community board, 1.5 km up Elk View Road from the Bailey Road turn off.
This project is made possible by the generous support of our donors as well as grants from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program.

 

What’s the Deal with Bullfrogs?

Bullfrogs are not a native species in the Fraser Valley. Native creatures evolved here together to create a functional ecosystem. Non-native species brought to this area can wreak havoc on our natural systems if they grow and spread out of control, becoming invasive species. The American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) is an invasive species due to its negative impacts on local wildlife, its capacity to spread, and its ability to easily establish itself in new areas.
Check out this document for answers to the most common questions we are asked about Bullfrogs.

Here are the most important things you need to know:

  • Bullfrog is NOT the same as “large frog”. We have large species of frogs native to the Fraser Valley such as the Western Toad. Learn how to identify frogs here.

  • Bullfrogs often spread to new areas because of humans. NEVER move amphibian eggs, tadpoles, or adults from one pond to another!

  • Bullfrogs are common in some areas of the Fraser Valley. Once they are established they are incredibly difficult to remove. The best thing you can do to help our native creatures is to improve the habitats where they live. Want to learn how to improve your property for wildlife? Get in touch with us!

  • If you find Bullfrogs, do NOT engage in lethal control before consulting with a specialist. Submit photos of the suspected Bullfrogs and read our landowner’s guide to bullfrog management.

 

 

  • Still want to learn more? Listen to Aleesha’s informative interview with CKNW…

 

  • Are you interested in learning about what the Fraser Valley Conservancy is doing about Bullfrogs in Ryder Lake? Hop on over this way.

Join us for the FVC AGM on Tuesday June 16th!

This year has been filled with challenges for everyone. In light of COVID-19, our AGM will look a bit different. We invite you to join us for a virtual meeting via Zoom, instead of our usual in-person event.

Our AGM will be held on June 16th at 7pm, for approximately one hour. Please access the meeting using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6046250066

We will be presenting brief updates on projects, a president’s report, board elections, and a review of our financials for the 2019 year. Spoiler alert: our conservation work continues to grow, despite COVID-19!

There will be time at the beginning of the meeting to ensure everyone is comfortable using Zoom, before we start. Please don’t hesitate to join us even if you are unfamiliar with the platform! And if you prefer to join by phone you can call 778 907 2071 and enter our meeting ID of 604 625 0066 when prompted, to listen in.

Please ensure you renew your membership prior to the AGM so you are eligible to vote – your continued support is what makes our conservation work possible.

You can update your membership using this link: https://fraservalleyno.wpengine.com/membership-form/

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at board@fraservalleyno.wpengine.com

We are all looking forward to seeing you remotely on the 16th!

Sincerely,

Zoey Slater
President

You’ve seen his Native Plant videos, here’s your chance to ask him questions directly…

The next session of our Nature Stewardship School online is here:

Join us live Thursday June 4th at 7pm for a Q&A session with Jon

Don’t miss your chance this season to ask us your native plant gardening questions.

Have you watched Jon’s videos?

Read our Gardening with Native Plants guide?

Are you inspired to create a native plant space for wildlife in your backyard?

But still unsure how to begin, or perhaps you are experiencing challenges, or just have native plant questions?

Join us via Zoom for an hour — learn what others are doing and ask any native plant questions you may have.

Click here to sign-up and receive your log-in information for the Native Plant Q&A session


Our Nature Stewardship School, which have now become videos and online sessions, wouldn’t be possible without the support of

Vancity’s Community Partnership Program and BC Gaming Grants – Thank You! 


If you would like to receive email notifications for future Nature Stewardship School Workshops click on the button below.