We've published the highlights of our conservation actions to reduce the threats of roads and habitat loss on amphibians in 2021-22. We want to thank all the people who helped make it an inspiring year for us. We hope reading it will inspire you too! Find it here.
The SPLAT Project Amphibian Tunnel
Thursday, October 6, 2022
Friday, August 20, 2021
SPLAT Update 2020 - 2021
Check out our summary of projects that happened in 2020 -2021!
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Amphibian Friendly Layers Added to Bridge Pathway
Creating an amphibian-friendly pathway over the rip rap beneath the Lost Shoe Bridge has continued since our earlier post this summer. We had always planned to add soil and plants over the mixture of sand and small stones, called "pit run", used to fill cracks in the rip rap. The importance of doing so was reinforced when we watched a Wandering Salamander struggle to get purchase on the "pit run" as it climbed up the slope at one of the bridge corners.
Then, from the corners where the fencing meets the bridge abutments to as far as the light can reach beneath the bridge, we planted dozens of sword ferns and lady ferns, sedges, rushes, false lily of the valley, coastal strawberry, twinflower and mosses. The final step was to spread fallen alder leaves over the soil and around the plants.
The following photos show the transformation from rip rap to pit run to a vegetated path in the southeast corner of the bridge.
More dramatic results happened in the southwest corner where the log placement reduced a steep drop across the rocks where the amphibian fencing joined the bridge abutment.
We were very pleased to find a Rough-skinned Newt on the path at this corner last week. It camouflaged well with the layer of dead alder leaves.
Our ongoing task is to monitor amphibian movements beneath the bridge. We installed cameras and search for frogs and salamanders along the highway and fences during warm rainy nights. The survey data will give us a relative measure of how many amphibians are moving across the road and being intercepted by the fencing. This will provide an index of how many we should expect to photograph moving under the bridge if our path is working!
Stay tuned for the results later this winter after we go through our camera images!
The Central Westcoast Forest Society, B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation support this project. We are grateful to them and a dozen community volunteers who have helped with the night surveys.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Guidelines for Amphibian & Reptile Conservation During Road Building & Management Activities in British Columbia
The provincial government has produced a set of guidelines at their website for reducing the impacts of roads on amphibians and reptiles in British Columbia. It's a resource for environmental consultants and various levels of government, industry and private landowners who build, manage and maintain roads in our province. It is a "living document" that will be updated as new information becomes available. We're happy that some of our work was included in the current version and we're onside to share more as we explore ways to improve passage for frogs and salamanders under Highway 4 on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Watch this video to see why amphibians and reptiles in BC need our help when it comes to roads.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Creating a Path for Amphibians Over "Rip Rap" Armouring a Bridge
Parks Canada is installing three new box culverts close to the one we put in place with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in 2011. We're looking forward to sharing the design features of the Park culverts and fencing system once they are complete in a few weeks.
Some of the fences were overgrown by alder trees so the crew used a powerful weed wacker...
... and cut back the alder to make a clear path for the amphibians to follow to the bridge.
We needed one more bucket of dirt to fill a steep section along one of the fences.
It felt good to deliver the last bucket!