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Lafarge Canada, Conservancy partnership tests toad tunnel

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Finishing the tunnel ahead of toadlets’ mid-summer migration, the concrete crew takes comfort in a job well done. The tunnel took center stage during the Chilliwack Toad Fest, where conservancy members observed charter users’ safe passage.

The Fraser Valley Conservancy has been working with local landowners in the Ryder Lake area of Chilliwack, British Columbia, since 2008 to study local amphibians’ migration patterns and their plight when moving across roads from woodlands to wetlands.

Work to fabricate and install a tunnel for toadlets caught the attention of Lafarge Canada Inc. because the project aligns with the company’s community investment pillars of education, environment and sustainable construction. Over a recent four-day window, Lafarge crews assisted in the rebuilding of a road and installation of a tunnel, the latter aimed at better and safer flow of traffic for baby toadlets. Fraser Valley Conservancy studies indicated the amphibians had previously been perishing in mass numbers due to existing infrastructure.

28 Toadi 40028 Toadii 400Through innovative design, sufficient light enters the tunnel, a precast culvert structure. Studies showed the amphibians will not use a crossing if it is too dark, so a manhole-type grate system was cast for Lafarge and donated to the project by Langley Concrete, a major British Columbia drainage products operator. The concrete structure is a sustainable solution as it provides strength for road traffic, low maintenance and durability.

“Our partnership with Lafarge has enabled us to finally implement this toad tunnel which has been a vision for the conservancy for many years,” says Fraser Valley Conservancy Executive Director Joanne Neilson. “Lafarge brought the construction expertise and manpower that we were lacking to help us achieve this important conservation goal.”

During this year’s Chilliwack Toad Fest, Lafarge Vice President, Vancouver Area David Redfern announced a $10,000 cash donation to the materials and volunteer support for the effort, noting “[We are] proud to be integrally involved in this biodiversity project, which supports the environment in the Fraser Valley and educates the public about sensitive toad populations—all while testing an innovation in wildlife crossings.”