About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Save The Frogs

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction as this little press release rolled across my inbox last night around 10 pm.

Section of Laird Road will close at night for amphibian migration

GUELPH, ON, September 22, 2009 – The City is acting quickly to mitigate frog road mortality on a stretch of Laird Road after receiving reports from local environmentalists last night. The City has learned that more than 100 frogs may have been struck by cars on a stretch of Laird Road as they were migrating to their wintering grounds.

The City has been looking at the road closure option since the spring when significant amphibian mortalities were identified on Laird Road. Migration during the fall months is generally less concentrated than spring migration. However, given today’s findings, the City is proceeding with the closure of Laird Road between McWilliams Road and Downey Road from dusk until dawn to avoid further mortality this fall. (Night is when amphibian migration usually takes place.) Traffic volume on Laird Road is low at night.

City staff will consult with experts and undertake observations of amphibian movements and weather patterns to determine how long the road closure will continue.

Meanwhile, as a longer term measure, the City is planning to construct amphibian movement culverts with fencing on either side of Laird Road this fall to provide for safe passage.

The matter had prompted LIMITS, already in the amphibian saving business, (so to speak) to take action themselves. Apparently, they were the "local environmentalists" that the city press release spoke of.

"TONIGHT!!! There is a meeting at Laird Road (between the Hanlon and Downey Road) tonight - 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm - to try to save as many of the amphibians as possible. All are welcome, but make sure to wear reflective clothing, and bring a flashlight, bucket and gloves!!!"

That message went out to members of the LIMITS Facebook group around 3:30 pm, by 5 pm victory was declared by another message:

"The frogs that did not make it across Laird road last night were put on display in front of city hall, prompting Hans Loewig to come out and announce laird will be closed tonight and then the city will figure out what to do on a more long-term basis!"

The Mercury's got copy on it in today's issue, but apparently this has been an issue with area residents for some time now.

"Norah Chaloner said she and a few friends noticed last September while walking on Laird Road the large number of frogs and toads being killed by passing cars. Realizing conditions would be ideal for a migration Monday night – a wet, warm night following a dry spell – they headed out with flashlights in hand to help the amphibians with their treacherous journey."

So kudos to area residents for taking swift action, and kudos to the city for taking such a big step to close a road for wildlife.

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