King Road closure for annual Jefferson salamander migration starts March 18. The city owes this creature a huge debt of gratitude.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 9th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON
The annual closure of King Road to allow for the safe passage of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their breeding migration will begin on Monday, March 18. King Road will be closed from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road for approximately four weeks.

He isn't exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

Burlington has closed the same section of road since 2012 so that the salamanders, which are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species, can do what a species does to stay alive..

About the Jefferson Salamander
In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found in Southern Ontario in select areas of deciduous forest, mostly along the Niagara Escarpment.

Jefferson salamanders spend the majority of their lives underground. As the weather warms up and the spring rains begin, the salamanders emerge and migrate to breed in temporary ponds formed by run-off, laying their eggs in clumps attached to underwater vegetation. Adults leave the ponds after breeding. By late summer, the larvae lose their gills, become air-breathing and leave the pond to head into the surrounding forests.

The Jefferson slamander, native to the northern part of the city appears to have become a mascot for the Region.

The Jefferson salamander, native to the northern part of the city could become a mascot for the city.

Adult salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds during wet rainy nights. They show a strong affinity for the pond in which they hatched and can be very determined to reach it, sometimes requiring them to cross busy roads.

Burlington has yet to find a way to celebrate these creatures that are short and a little slimmy. Maybe the Mayor could declare a Jeffie Day and have the media descend on the city to photograph this amazing event.
Wiarton has their Willie – why not a Jeffie for Burlington?

King Road Map 2

The dark line at the top indicates the portion of King Road that will be closed.

hassaan basit

Hassaan Basit, CAO, Conservation Halton

The bureaucrats tend to take a more prosaic view of this event. Hassaan Basit, CAO, Conservation Halton explains that: “The annual closure of King Road by the City of Burlington reinforces Conservation Halton’s promise to form partnerships, which enable us to better protect our natural environment, in this case an endangered species.

“Our ecologists use monitoring data to recommend the timing and duration of the road closure to maximize its impact on the species while keeping disruption, due to the closure, down to the minimum.

“Our monitoring has shown a measurable positive impact on the Jefferson salamander population due to these once-a-year road closures. I would like to thank the city and community. Their efforts are helping in the recovery of this species.”

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is “very proud of the efforts to aid in the survival and recovery of this rare species. Since the first full road closure in 2012, there has been no road mortality of Jefferson salamanders observed by Conservation Halton staff during the road closure period.”

Related news stories:

It was the Jefferson salamander that stopped the expansion of the Nelson Quarry expansion

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2 comments to King Road closure for annual Jefferson salamander migration starts March 18. The city owes this creature a huge debt of gratitude.

  • Dave

    This great initiative is a feather in Burlington’s cap, showing we can make minor lifestyle changes to co-exist with other species (for the benefit of both them and ourselves).

    Here’s a good video from 2018 from CityNews and Conservation Halton covering the subject: https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2018/03/13/why-did-the-salamander-cross-the-road/

    “A healthy salamander population is an indication of a healthy environment.”

    Yes, it would be good to honour “Jeff”, but the last thing we need is for people crowding around trying to get video. Stay away. Let them do their thing. The video above is all people need to see. “Conservation Halton is hoping that people don’t try to come out at night to see them…”

  • Elizabeth Hamidbasha

    Great! When Burlington cares for the ‘little critters’ they are showing that they care about all creatures, great and small. I’m proud of you!

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