August 26 and 27 saw local families converge at the annual Toadfest at Summit Lake. The event serves to both create awareness of the western toad in our area and to aid them in their migration, which crosses a busy highway. Toadlets must get from their summer habitat back to the lakeshore for winter, and their numbers rely on the kindness of humans to accomplish this safely.
Angus Glass, the Communications Coordinator with the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program said, “We had a great turnout — between 350-400 people over the two days.”
Despite the great attendance of participants ready to lend a hand, toad numbers were down this year. Last year, the total number of toadlets moved was more than 13,000 compared to only 6852 for 2014. Biologists cite unseasonably warm temperatures as the reason.
“Basically the extremely hot weather in July and August resulted in the tadpoles developing faster than normal in the warm water, and the main migration occurred a couple of weeks earlier than usual (nearer the beginning of August),” added Glass.
The annual event is put on thanks to cooperation between 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; the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure; and YRB.