A western toad. (Suzie Wolf)

Langley toad migration late, but beginning soon

The event on the border of Langley and Surrey usually happens in mid-July.

The toads are late this year.

The annual western toad migration in South Langley is being monitored by A Rocha Canada, an environmental organization with based in South Surrey, with an interest in the Little Campbell watershed.

Every year, tens of thousands of western toads leave their ponds near Campbell Valley and migrate – just a few miles.

Normally, the 70,000-plus toadlet army would already have been on the move weeks ago, but this year they seem to be just getting started as of the start of August.

“We’ve started doing our surveys,” said Laura Newberry, a conservation biologist for A Rocha. “They have emerged out of the ponds.”

But the heat and dry weather may be causing the migration to be later than normal, Newberry said.

A Rocha has been trying to reduce toad mortality along their route, which crosses 20th Avenue west of 200th Street.

They asked the Township for a temporary road closure to non-local traffic, to cut down on the number of toads squished under the wheels of cars and trucks. Council vetoed the idea, but signs have been put up warning drivers of the toads.

A Rocha has already put up some fencing aimed at funnelling the toads into a culvert, at least in one area.

They are also looking to a broader solution in the future with help from the Township.

A wildlife crossing under the road, essentially a much larger culvert, could help keep the toads safe, Newberry said.

The biologists are currently counting the toads three times a week.

They’re hoping rainy weather scheduled for this weekend may bring out more toads.

The toads will migrate from the pond where they breed and lay their eggs, heading northeast into the wooded areas, where they essentially vanish into the forest.

The annual toad migration has been so notable that locals have been reporting it for decades, and it’s been reported in the Langley Advance going back to the first half of the 20th century.

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