The annual closure of King Rd. to allow for the safe passage of the endangered Jefferson salamanders during their breeding migration will begin on Monday, March 16.
King Rd. 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 which are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species.
“Over the years, ‘Jeff’ has become an even more beloved part of our Burlington community and almost an unofficial mascot for our city,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.
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“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.”
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.