This toad waits to make his next hop.

Forest faces off with toad populations in Summit Lake

During the last two council meetings, Councillor Hughes requested an official Village response to concerns about the proposed logging

  • Oct. 29, 2014 8:00 a.m.

Trisha Shanks

Arrow Lakes News

During the last two council meetings, Councillor Hughes requested an official Village response to swelling public concerns about the proposed logging by Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR)  in the blue-listed western toads’ habitat. He was shot down by his colleagues, with the mayor requesting additional information from NACFOR itself.

According to B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, a blue  listed species is “particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events. Blue-listed elements are at risk, but are not Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened.” According to published numbers, fewer than half of the amount were carried to safety during this year’s Toadfest compared to previous years.

Wayne McRory, Biologist with the Valhalla Wilderness Society Conservation Programs wrote a letter to the Village and copied it to concerned private citizens, media outlets and several government bodies.

McRory wrote, “NACFOR runs a very high risk of causing considerable loss of thousands of toadlets that the taxpayer has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars saving and that hundreds of citizens have directly saved by bucketing the toadlets across Highway 6; not to mention a high risk of seriously damaging some of the best possible over-wintering habitat. As well, NACFOR logging effects to all-season toad habitats could be cumulative because of the extensive clear cutting that has already occurred in the past including BC Timber Sales, Slocan Forest Products and some private land logging at lower elevations.”

So far, it’s just a proposal and studies are being performed by biologists. What isn’t in place is even one expert on this species.

In a particularly unenviable position, NACFOR is accountable to its sole shareholder — the village, which represents the local citizens. The logging of local forests provides not only timber products, but also generates profits which have been disbursed to allow the Rotary Club, ski hill and golf course with major expenditures.

NACFORs Frances Swan was contacted by the Arrow Lakes News with questions regarding this story.

“We are working with the board of directors on developing a strategy to respond to the issues being raised concerning toads in Summit Lake.” Swan was not able to give any indication of when this would be available and declined to comment further.

 

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