Keep your Eyes out for Amphibians!

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It’s that time of year when many of our Ontario frogs and salamanders move out of their hibernation areas and start their journey to breed in nearby vernal pools. Vernal pools are temporary water bodies that fill in spring with water from melting snow, storm water or groundwater. These pools are generally found in forests and dry up by midsummer. These pools are important because they provide breeding sites free of large permanent water body predators such as fish.

Most amphibians have small habitat ranges that measure a few 100 square meters. In Southern Ontario, even this small of a range means that many of these creatures will have to cross trails and roads to get to their breeding, nesting and overwintering sites. With urban expansion road mortality is becoming a major cause for concern for cute little amphibians like the Jefferson salamander.

Jefferson salamanders are listed as Endangered Provincially and Nationally in Ontario. They are the first salamander to emerge in springtime. Some Canadians have even seen these creatures walking across the snow to reach their partially melted breeding ponds. Jeffersons have small pores on their heads that exude a whitish liquid. Many believe that with this liquid Jeffersons leave a scent trail that they follow year after year during migration. The makes their migration route predicable but also it makes it difficult relocate them to a safer, unscented environment.

The city of Burlington is taking the process of protecting these creatures to a whole new level.

For original report click HERE from the The Star By: Ira Lamcja Staff Reporter, Published on Wed Mar 26 2014

For the third consecutive year, Burlington officials are closing a city road for nearly a month to grant endangered Jefferson salamanders safe passage to their breeding ponds.

Starting on March 27 and running through April 17, King Rd. in Burlington will be closed from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Rd.

Burlington Mayor Rick Golding said the community has been supportive. “This is a fine example of how the city takes environmental issues very, very seriously,” Golding said, adding that locals are proud of making the decision to close the road every year.

“Given that Jefferson salamanders are found throughout southern Ontario, closing roads at this time of year might be an option for other municipalities to consider” said Hassaan Basit, Conservation Halton’s communications director.

“Quite often people think we’re not willing to make sacrifices for other species,” he said, adding that this particular sacrifice by the Burlington community is “very significant” for the endangered salamanders.

Great job Burlington!

Report you salamander findings to the Ontario Nature’s Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.

You can also help Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme with Ontario frog conservation and research by reporting your spring 2014 frog observations (both visual and frog calls) to FrogWatch Ontario. All data is shared with conservation parties, like Nature Ontario, to help us locate hot spots for amphibian conservation and population monitoring! Be a frog watcher and join in the effort to save Ontario frogs!

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