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Annual closure of King Road to protect endangered Jefferson Salamander starts March 15

Jefferson SalamanderAdapted from City of Burlington press release

The City of Burlington will be closing King Road from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road March 15 to April 6 to allow the endangered Jefferson Salamander safe passage during its annual breeding migration.

The Jefferson Salamander is a nationally and provincially protected endangered species. Each year, since 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road for an approximate three-week period.

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. Several forested areas in Burlington provide the necessary breeding, summer and overwintering habitats required by this species.

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 and become air-breathing (like the metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs) and leave the pond to head into the surrounding forests.

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

To learn more about the Jefferson Salamander, visit the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry website.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

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