One of the migrating toadlets rests briefly on the hand of conservationist Laura Newberry near a South Brookswood pond. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

One of the migrating toadlets rests briefly on the hand of conservationist Laura Newberry near a South Brookswood pond. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Fewer squished toads the goal of this year’s Fraser Valley migration, say conservationists

The tiny western toadlets are about to embark on an epic journey of a couple of kilometres

The toads are on the move in South Langley, but this year they’ll have a bit more protection when they cross local streets.

“They’ve just emerged from the wetland,” said Christy Juteau, the conservation science director of A Rocha Canada, a local environmental group.

The western toads hatch in huge numbers in a cluster of ponds and wetlands in the Fernridge area, before they start a brief but intense migration to nearby woodlands.

Along the way, they often cross several local roads, including 20th Avenue between 196th and 200th Streets, and parts of 196th and 24th Avenue near the Langley-Surrey border.

This can be disastrous for the young toadlets, which are about the size of nickels. The young toads sweep through the area by the thousands – about 60,000 are expected to emerge from ponds this year.

Even slow traffic can kill hundreds of them because the toads can carpet the roads. There’s simply no way for drivers to avoid them.

A Rocha, which is based in the Little Campbell River watershed that runs through South Surrey and Langley, asked Langley Township for help keeping drivers off the key routes for the week of the migration this year.

Last year, the Township staff said they didn’t have enough advance warning and could not divert traffic. Warning signs were put up telling drivers there might be toads.

However, dry weather meant no migration took place last year. The toads stayed close to their original ponds. This year there’s been rain and cooler weather.

“They’re able to move more freely in this cooler, moister weather,” said Juteau.

This year, with earlier contact with A Rocha, the Township has installed signs asking that only local drivers use the key roads during the migration, and diverting others away for the week-long migration, which is expected to hit local roads as soon as this Friday, around June 5.

Township director of public works Roeland Zwaag said Township staff are closely monitoring the migration.

This year, large signs will tell drivers to detour around the key areas, with only local traffic allowed into the neighbourhood.

“Hopefully, people will be attentive to that,” said Juteau.

The A Rocha crews are also busy trying to divert as many toads as possible away from the road and through a culvert that runs under 20th Avenue.

They’ve built a 400 metre funnel-shaped drift fence from near the spawning pond to the culvert, said Laura Newberry, a conservationist with A Rocha.

As the toads migrate to the northeast, they’ll run up against the fence and hopefully stay off the road. The fence was built with the cooperation of private property owners in the area.

If people want to see the toad migration, Newberry asked that they not simply drive to the area. If the toads are on the move, that could mean a lot of squished animals.

Curious people can contact the conservationists through a Facebook group dubbed A Rocha BC Conservation. There will be tours for those interested in seeing the toads.

BrookswoodConservationEnvironmentLangleyNature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Delta Police dog retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

In 2017, a member of the Disneyana Fan Club curated a small Community Treasures exhibit at the Museum of Surrey about the early days of Disney and the cartoonist Walt Disney. The museum is now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibition. (Photo: Submitted)
Museum of Surrey wants to spotlight local organizations and clubs

Museum now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibit

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Musician Dana Vande is seen in a screenshot from a music video on Youtube. Vande recently released a pro-lockdown track in response to an Eric Clapton and Van Morrison anti-lockdown track.
Cloverdale musician writes pandemic response song to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton

Dana Vande answers a Clapton-Morrison anti-lockdown track with a pro-lockdown track

Surrey RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera as seen in a cut-out used for the detachment’s Operation Double Take program. (File photo)
Surrey’s tall ‘Operation Double Take’ cop is on the move

Cut-out of Constable Mike Della-Paolera used in program to curb speeding and dangerous driving

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read