Western Toadlets spotted at Harrop Wetland!

Western Toadlets spotted at Harrop Wetland!

Over 20,000 Western toadlets were spotted at Harrop Wetland last week. This is huge news!

But why?

It’s been a rough go for Western Toads at Harrop Wetland. A combination of flood management from dams and a warmer, drier climate creates unpredictable and unreliable water levels at Harrop Wetland. During low water years or during periods of extreme heat and dry climate, Harrop is known to completely lose its water by the summer, killing mass number of tadpoles before they can develop into toadlets.

Since 2013, FoKLSS has been working with the Harrop community and local experts to restore this wetland with the goal of increasing water retention to improve the breeding success of Western Toads. We’ve excavated deeper pools, blocked the outflow, planted native vegetation, trained citizen science volunteers to monitor the wetland, and more! These restoration efforts have improved the Harrop Wetland habitat but haven’t really met our expectations. As a result, we have even bigger plans for 2022.

Last week, staff members Kayla (Program Manager) and Moriah (Stewardship Coordinator) visited Harrop Wetland for one of their regular monitoring visits. When they approached the wetland, they noticed all the eggs that had hatched into tadpoles back at the end of June had now metamorphosed into toadlets! They estimated around 20,000 and about half of them still had their tails. There were some tadpoles too, but most were partially metamorphosed. They were sun-basking on the wet silty substrate along the edges of the ponds.

Monitoring Western Toads at Harrop Wetland continues to be a crucial part of our restoration efforts. Understanding the number of toads, their life stages, and surrounding vegetation provides us with important data we can compare over the years to determine if restoration is successful.

A huge thanks to our citizen science volunteers Timothy, Eric, Tara, Lisa, Ted and Tat for monitoring the wetland weekly.

Learn more about our Harrop Wetland Enhancement Project and our plans for 2022 here.


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