There is good news and bad news to report on the tiny toad front.
Fraser Valley Conservancy has been monitoring the summer migration of the Western toad and other amphibians in Ryder Lake for weeks. Some of the toads and frogs are species of “special concern” federally.
The good news? A huge number appear to have hatched from tadpoles in the hills above Chilliwack.
The bad news? They’re headed in the opposite direction of the much-touted toad tunnel built with community support, and sweat equity to prevent mortalities, or vehicle strikes.
“They’re messing with us,” FVC executive director Joanne Neilson said with a laugh.
The FVC reps went through a lot of trouble to figure out where the toads would be likely to cross, using data from previous years, and had the tunnel structure built there. They installed directional fencing to help guide them to the tunnel.
But when dealing with nature, things can be unpredictable.
This summer the migrating toads are heading out in all directions, south of the toad tunnel on Elk View Road, across Huston Road, as well as under the road using the toad tunnel.
It was difficult to pick a detour route that would actually make it safe for the migrating amphibians.
“The toadlets are so tiny, it is impossible to see them when driving, and many people don’t even notice them when walking.”
The problem is there is no way to avoid the tell-tale popping while driving over Elk View Road between Ryder Lake and Huston Roads.
But there is a simple detour route that only adds an extra 300 metres to the drive.
So motorists driving up to Ryder Lake are being asked take Elk View Road to Ryder Lake Road, and then on to Huston Road, to avoid the section around the breeding pond.
“The only way can help the toadlets this year is by taking the detour,” said Neilson.
It was the same last year.
Just follow the ‘Toad Migration Voluntary Detour’ signs. But if you don’t have to head up the hill, don’t.
“Local residents have been super supportive, and have been alerting us to new migrations,” she added.
The migration is petering out now.
“By the weekend there should be very few on the roads,” she said.