Toad tunnel targets adult toads

A new toad tunnel installed under Highway 6 at Summit Lake already being used by young toadlets and, more importantly, adult toads.

A new toad tunnel installed under Highway 6 at Summit Lake south of Nakusp by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) is already being used by young toadlets and, more importantly, adult toads.

The tunnel, constructed in summer 2014, will help reduce mortality of Western Toads — a species at risk — as they cross the road to and from Summit Lake.

While there are two smaller existing wildlife culverts running under the highway, the new box culvert, with concrete construction, is much larger at 1.8 metres wide. The tunnel floor is covered in soil so it feels as natural as possible.

The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations, have also constructed temporary directional fencing to help guide the toads into each entrance.

There are three migrations — or road crossings —that occur at different times of the year for the Western Toads. First, when the ice comes off the lake in early spring, the adults that are ready to breed make their way to the lake; after breeding they return to their upland habitat; and then in late summer, millions of dime-sized toadlets that are the progeny of the spring breeding, leave the lake and head upland where they mature into adults.

While the timing for these movements is typical, researchers have observed some adults heading down to the lake well before winter — possibly to get a jumpstart or some competitive advantage for the breeding the following spring.

“We are extremely pleased that the new tunnel is being used by the migrating adults. In September we recorded two dozen adults over the course of just two nights using the tunnel, many of them females laden with eggs,” says Wildlife Biologist Jakob Dulisse. “The large structure also allows other animals to use the tunnel, and at least four species of mammals have already been recorded using it.”

The adult female Western Toads are especially important because each female ready to spawn is carrying an average of 12,000 eggs. To put that figure into perspective, during the annual Toadfest event organized by the FWCP, a similar number of toadlets, on average, are carried across the road each year.

It is anticipated that this is just the start of the positive results, and that in the years ahead the number of toads using the tunnel will increase.

In preparation to select the optimal site for the toad tunnel, MOTI utilized information collected during the Western Toad Research Project at Summit Lake. The project involves many partners including the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Columbia Basin Trust, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Nakusp and Area Community Forest, and BC Parks.

 

Just Posted

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Police call Appledale death a homicide

But few other details being released

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

B.C. First Nation’s group using ads in Texas targeting company for fuel spill

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Most Read