The Western toad likes warm waters such as Kawkawa Lake to lay their eggs.

The Western toad likes warm waters such as Kawkawa Lake to lay their eggs.

Toads have been here forever

Biologist: Best to call in sightings of listed species

  • Aug. 19, 2011 2:00 p.m.

The ground at the Kawkawa Lake picnic area and boat launch is hopping with tiny, dark coloured toads this time of year, but residents say that’s nothing out of the ordinary.

“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Laurel Loring said Monday. “And there’s always been tadpoles and toads here.”

Loring, along with a group of other parents, spent the day cooling off at the beach with her three children. The kids squealed with delight as they found wildlife in the water, and out. The tiny toads range in size from a dime to a quarter, and hop close to the shoreline.

The toads used to hang out more toward the picnic area than the main beach, Loring said. But they’re now finding their way onto the beach, and over the last two weeks have been observed hopping around the boat launch.

Biologist Mike Pearson said they are actually toadlets, migrating out of the water where they lived as tadpoles. They are leaving their warm, watery home and moving up into the bushes around the park. And yes, he added, they are the same toadlets that caused a media frenzy in Ryder Lake near Chilliwack recently. There, roads had to be closed to allow for the proper migration of toadlets from a pond to the forest.

Warm waters are the perfect habitat for the Western toad, Lisa Fox, executive director of the Fraser Valley Conservancy said. The Conservancy has been helping the blue-listed toads’ migration at Ryder Lake for the past four years. Both the Conservancy and Pearson were not aware that Western toads had habitat in that area of Kawkawa Lake.

But Pearson said it’s not surprising to find them, as the toads are very common around the province. What’s also becoming common, however, is urbanization of previously forested areas. In short, people are moving into their habitat.

“There’s been this long-term decline in numbers,” he said, and while they’re a listed species, they are listed at the lowest level possible. Under the DFO’s Species at Risk Act, they’re listed as special concern, and at the provincial level, they’re blue-listed.

What that means is the government agencies keeping track of wildlife numbers want to know where these animals are living. Pearson, whose company Pearson Biological sometimes works in conjunction with the DFO, wasn’t sure if the area was already mapped as a Western toad migration area, but as a result of photographs and conversations with this newspaper, has sent in a report of local observations.

He said the presence of a blue-listed species like the Western toad shouldn’t be troublesome for a municipality.

“The ministry just needs to know when people see these things,” he said, to keep track of the numbers to know the true situation for each species.

People should feel free to call either the Ministry of Environment, DFO or the Fraser Valley Conservancy if they see a listed species. Even if the location is a known one, environmental workers can map the timing of events such as egg laying, hatching and migration.

The Conservancy is making advances in finding innovative ways to allow the toads to cross the road at Ryder Lake, Pearson said. And if that’s successful, he said it could be possible to help toads in other situations. As it stands, the traffic at the boat launch, and human foot traffic could be a concern for the toads. However, before the toadlets make it to dry land, they’ve already been predated by larger animals in the water.

Maurice Wutzke, Director of Operations for the District of Hope, said it’s a well-known fact that toads enjoy living in Kawkawa Lake.

“They thrive there,” he said, but residents will see less and less of the toads as the nights, and the water, begins to cool down.

To report a listed species sighting, phone the Fraser Valley Conservancy at 604-850 -7733.

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Most Read