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Salamander Safety!

http://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/4430337-city-closing-king-road-for-salamanders-starting-march-27/

King Road will close from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road from March 27-April 17 to allow the endangered Jefferson salamander safe passage during its annual migration to lay eggs.

Beginning in 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road completely for a three-week period.

“The closure is a significant conservation measure because the annual migration puts salamanders at risk,” said Bruce Zvaniga, the city’s director of transportation services, in a press release.

“There is good evidence that the effort has allowed the Jefferson salamanders to travel safely across King Road, helping preserve a unique part of Burlington’s biodiversity.”

The Jefferson salamander is a protected species and is nationally and provincially endangered.

In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found in Southern Ontario in select areas of deciduous forest, mostly along the Niagara Escarpment. Forested areas in Burlington provide the necessary breeding habitat required by this species.

“The community, locally and across the city, has embraced this conservation effort,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “This is a great example of how Burlington residents regularly support steps to protect our environment.”

According to Conservation Halton biologists, Jefferson salamanders spend the winter underground. As the weather warms up and the spring rains begin, the salamanders seek temporary ponds formed by run-off, sometimes crossing King Road to do so.

They lay their eggs in clumps attached to underwater vegetation. By late summer, the larvae lose their gills and leave the pond and head into the surrounding forests.

Adult salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds in mid-March or early April during wet rainy nights. They show strong affinity for their birth pond and can be very determined to reach it.

“It is encouraging to know that the city is committed to the long-term survival of the Jefferson salamander,” said Ken Phillips, CAO of Conservation Halton.

“Our studies show that the road closure is a success. There has been a marked decrease in fatalities because the salamanders can safely make their way to the breeding ponds.”

Conservation Halton is committed to preserving native biodiversity and protecting species at risk through activities such as protection of natural heritage systems, the creation of wildlife corridors, and increased public awareness through education, outreach and partnerships with local organizations.

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