Take Note of This Major Road Closure in Burlington

It’s an annual ritual in Burlington.

And it starts on Monday.

The closure of King Rd. to allow for the safe passage of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their breeding migration begins March 12.

King Rd. will be closed from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Rd.

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

Since 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road for three weeks.

Conservation Halton is commending the city for allowing the closure “and for their continued enthusiastic support,” said associate director of science and partnerships Kim Barrett.

The road closure will allow Jefferson Salamanders safe passage across the road at a time of year where they are very vulnerable to injury from cars, bikes and pedestrians."

Photo courtesy of Conservation Halton

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 in which they hatched and can be very determined to reach it, sometimes requiring them to cross busy roads.

"The City of Burlington is very proud of this program and our partnership with Conservation Halton,” said Mayor Rick Goldring.

The efforts to protect this section of road are proving to be an effective tool in assisting the survival and recovery of this rare species."


REAL QUICK

  • The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario's endangered species list in 2011.
  • 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.
  • 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.

(Source: City of Burlington)

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