Toadfest will be held earlier than normal this year as the warm spring and hot summer forced the annual migration of toadlets to start earlier ever before seen.
A statement from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) said the toadlets are already on the move. The peak toadlet movement may have come and gone, but there will still be lots of activities to do and displays to see at Toadfest on Wednesday, August 12, from 4 – 7 pm at Summit Lake Provincial Park, south of Nakusp.
The free event, now in its sixth year, is coordinated by the FWCP with support from BC Parks, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), Columbia Basin Trust, and the Ministry of Transportation, Highways and Infrastructure (MTHI).
“We anticipated that the migration would be earlier this year because early breeding was observed,” FWCP Manager Crystal Klym said in the statement. “Then the very hot summer accelerated the growth of the tadpoles, and large numbers of toadlets were already moving by the third week of July.”
Western Toads are provincially Blue-listed (vulnerable) and, while numbers are still relatively strong at Summit Lake, their distribution is shrinking and the center of the world’s distribution has shifted from the USA to BC.
One of the challenges faced by the toads at Summit Lake is getting across Highway 6 without getting squashed by vehicles as they migrate between the lake and upland habitat. Adults move to and from the lake to breed in the spring, and then the toadlets make one migration in late summer when they leave the lakeshore and move to upland habitat where they disperse and mature.
A recently constructed toad tunnel and wildlife fence, installed by MTHI and MFLNRO have already proven very successful in guiding toads and toadlets safely under the road but there are still large sections of the road where they have no protection from the traffic.
“Toadfest is about more than collecting toadlets; it really is a great opportunity to learn about the local ecology and other wildlife and plants in the region,” Klym said. “There will be live aquatic insects, amphibians, and reptiles to see as well as a variety of fun kids’ activities and interactive displays to participate in.”
The FWCP is a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., Fisheries and Oceans Canada, First Nations and Public Stakeholders, to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by BC Hydro dams.
Parking is limited so carpooling is encouraged. To learn more about Summit Lake Provincial Park and BC Parks please go to visitwww.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks.
For more information about Toadfest call the FWCP at 250-352-1300 or visit fwcp.ca. The public is reminded not to collect or transport any toadlets across the highway outside of this organized event.