A western toad. (Suzie Wolf)

Signs, but no detour for Langley toads on roads

A tunnel will help some of the toads avoid 20th Avenue.

There will be no road closure for western toads as thousands of them begin their annual migration in South Langley this year.

On Monday, Township council voted not to temporarily divert non-local traffic from a stretch of 20th Avenue between 196th and 200th Street.

Christy Juteau of A Rocha Canada, an environmental group, had asked for the diversion to protect more of the toads from being pulverized by drivers.

“They just get squished as they’re trying to cross,’ Juteau said.

The young toads are just starting to emerge from the wetlands where they are hatched to their wintering grounds. They can make journeys of three to five kilometers, and there are approximately 74,000 toads expected in the area this year.

It will be early next week when the toads reach 20th Avenue and start crossing, Juteau said.

Although a Township staff report said a road closure would be too onerous for local drivers, A Rocha is still hoping to try to protect more toads.

The Township will put up warning signs along the route.

They have also approved an alternate route for the toads.

“We are trying to use a tunnel this season,” Juteau said.

A Rocha members will build drift fencing to try to guide toads towards a dry culvert that should let more of them cross under 20th Avenue safely.

Juteau is also asking local drivers to proceed with care, and to take alternate routes whenever they can.

“Hopefully, some people will choose not to drive down the road,” she said.

The peak of the migration will last a couple of weeks.

Western toads are not endangered, but they are suffering population declines, both in B.C. and in the United States, according to the Ministry of Environment.

Locals may find the western toads in soft soil, including in mole hills on their properties, or in their gardens.

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