This year, the annual Toadfest event will be held on Wednesday August 12th, from 4-7 p.m. at Summit Lake Provincial Park, south of Nakusp. The warm spring and hot summer has the annual migration of toadlets start earlier than has ever been seen before, and the toadlets are already on the move. The peak toadlet movement may have come and gone, but there will still be lots of activities to do and displays to see at Toadfest.
The free event, now in its sixth year, is coordinated by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP), with support from B.C. Parks, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Columbia Basin Trust, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“We anticipated that the migration would be earlier this year because early breeding was observed,” says Crystal Klym, Program Manager for the FWCP in the Columbia Region. “Then the very hot summer accelerated the growth of the tadpoles, and large numbers of toadlets were already moving by the third week of July”.
Western oads are provincially blue-listed (vulnerable) and, while numbers are still relatively strong at Summit Lake, their distribution is shrinking and the center of the world’s distribution has shifted from the USA to B.C.
One of the challenges faced by the toads at Summit Lake is getting across Highway 6 without getting squashed by vehicles as they migrate between the lake and upland habitat. Adults move to and from the lake to breed in the spring, and then the toadlets make one migration in late summer when they leave the lakeshore and move to upland habitat where they disperse and mature.
A recently constructed toad tunnel and wildlife fencing, installed by the Ministry of Transportation, Highways and Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, have already proven very successful in guiding toads and toadlets safely under the road but there are still large sections of the road where they have no protection from the traffic.
“Toadfest is about more than collecting toadlets; it really is a great opportunity to learn about the local ecology and other wildlife and plants in the region,” added Klym. “There will be live aquatic insects, amphibians, and reptiles to see as well as a variety of fun kids’ activities and interactive displays to participate in.”
Parking is limited so carpooling is encouraged. To learn more about Summit Lake Provincial Park, and B.C. Parks, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks.
For more information about Toadfest call the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program at 250-352-1300 or visit fwcp.ca. The public are reminded not to collect or transport any toadlets across the highway outside of this organized event.