Burlington, Ont., March 7, 2012- King Road, between the base of the Niagara Escarpment and Mountain Brow Road, will be closed March 8 to March 29 to allow the endangered Jefferson salamander safe passage during its annual migration to lay eggs.
In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found only in Southern Ontario, mainly along the Niagara Escarpment. Burlington is home to one of the few pockets of Jefferson salamanders in the province.
Historically, the city attempted a voluntary closure of a stretch of King Road to protect the species. In 2011, Conservation Halton conducted field research on the impact of vehicular traffic on the Jefferson salamander during breeding season. That research recommends a full closure for the duration of the migration.
"We tried voluntary overnight closures as a temporary solution," said Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven. "But with such a small population, losing even a few of these endangered salamanders is too many. A three week closure is a small price to pay to preserve a species."
According to Conservation Halton, a typical Jefferson salamander colony is small - with a population no more than 100 - and confined to a specific area.
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.
"With the road closure, the City of Burlington has taken a tremendous step to help protect and preserve the Jefferson salamander for future generations," said Ken Phillips, Conservation Halton's chief administrative officer. "Conservation Halton applauds the city for taking such a bold step."
Local Jefferson salamanders spend the winter on one side of King Road, then cross the road to seek temporary ponds formed by spring run-off.
"The annual migration takes place during dark, rainy periods in March, in exactly the type of weather where you probably won't even see the salamander," said Bruce Zvaniga, Burlington's director of transportation. "The road closure is key to preserving the population."
To learn more about the Jefferson salamander, read the Ministry of Natural Resources fact sheet.
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City of Burlington
Phone: 905-335-7600, ext. 7835
City of Burlington
Director of Transportation Services
Phone: 905-335-7600, ext. 7976
Phone: 905-336-1158, ext. 233