Drafted by West Kootenay EcoSociety Conservation Committee                                    
July 2016

The West Kootenay region supports a high density of breeding western toads and the population at Summit Lake likely represents a significant portion of the species’ breeding population regionally and provincially.  In recognition of the importance of the Summit Lake breeding area to western toad populations in the region, the West Kootenay EcoSociety supports the following:

1 – Candidate Goal 2 protected areas should be gazetted by the province and fully protected. This includes the Goal 2 area at Summit Lake identified by the 2003 Park Management Plan as having the potential to significantly increase the park conservation value.

2 – Protected areas should be buffered from adjacent industrial management to ensure values within parks are not degraded along the boundary. For Summit Lake, the buffer should be determined using available data on toad densities, but a 300-m buffer from the boundary with the Goal 2 area would be an appropriate starting point within which no industrial activity should take place, to reduce toad mortality and habitat degradation.

3 – Additional mechanisms should be explored to decrease road mortality of adult females (1).

4 – To responsibly manage this listed population outside the park and park buffer, efforts must be intensified to better understand (a) the density and distribution of toads in the surrounding forests and (b) when toads are most vulnerable to disturbance. If forest development has to occur in the surrounding area (2). we recommend at minimum the following precautionary measures:

·       Harvest in winter only, when there is sufficient depth of compactible snow, such that NO ground disturbance or soil compaction occurs.

·       Do not undertake any road or other maintenance activities in high toad-movement times.

·       Do not harvest within a 300-m buffer area around the Park (existing area and Goal 2 area), to minimize disturbance detrimental to toad habitat use.

·       Partial harvest through any areas adjacent to the lake and follow best management practices for site level planning.

·       Ensure that harvest plans are reviewed and signed off by a Registered Professional Biologist with demonstrated local knowledge of toad requirements

We remain very concerned about the current approach to management of listed and non-listed species in BC. Even where impacts are known to occur, there is no longer a government decision-maker with the responsibility to adequately manage and conserve the forests and values of Crown Land. This places Registered Professional Foresters, and the public of BC in an untenable situation that often fails to maintain ecological values into the long-term.

(1) The Park Management Plan notes the campground and road mortality of toads to number in the tens of thousands.

(2) The West Kootenay EcoSociety understands there is an approved cutting permit has been issued for the Nakusp Community Forest, and the current regulations on forest management in BC do not allow for this cutting permit to be revoked unless the actions are contrary to law. BC has no protection for this (and many other) listed species, and forest management is at the behest of the forest-management professional at this time.