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It’s Jefferson Salamander Mating Season in Burlington: Time to Close King Road and Protect Endangered Species

Conservation Halton photo.
Conservation Halton photo.

*Please see media release below issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. — March 12, 2020 — 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 16.

King Road will be closed from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road for approximately four weeks.

Since 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road for the salamanders that are a nationally- and provincially-protected endangered species.

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.

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

QUICK FACTS

  • The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.
  • Jefferson salamanders have a grey or brown-coloured back, with lighter under-parts. Blue flecks may be present on the sides and limbs.
  • Adult Jefferson salamanders are 12 to 20 cm long. The long tail makes up half this length.
  • Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time; up to 30 years of age.

LINKS AND RESOURCES

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

Over the years, ‘Jeff’ has become an even more beloved part of our Burlington community and almost an unofficial mascot for our city. We’re pleased through our annual efforts to safeguard their travels during their breeding migration that we’re not only protecting an endangered species, but also doing our part locally to ensure future numbers of ‘Jeff’ flourish. I’m also proud of our community for our willingness to inconvenience ourselves for a short time to ensure an endangered species has the chance to thrive.

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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