Community News

A juvenile toad on rock rubble adjacent to the Pacific Highway upgrade at Mororo. Image: Contributed

Concern for spread of cane toads along Highway despite decline at Woombah

Populations of cane toads in and around Woombah appear to be in retreat following last Friday nights cane toad roundup by CVCIA Landcare when 259 toads were collected at six locations, including Goodwood Island, however it appears some toads are getting ready to benefit from the new Highway work.

When CVCIA visited Woombah in mid-February 287 toads were collected from three sites and when volunteers visited the same sites during Friday’s session the tallies from each site showed either a solid decline or no change, whilst immature, non-breeding toads continued to account for about 80% of individuals collected.

The high percentage of smaller toads demonstrates that breeding has occurred in the area and the Landcare group’s main concern in this respect is the roadwork’s associated with the Pacific Highway upgrade where literally hundreds of permanent and temporary potential toad breeding sites have been unintentionally created by construction of sediment and detention basins as well as open drains and culverts.

Compounding this surge in potential breeding habitat is the use of rock rubble for working pads and rock-lining of open drains that gives cane toads perfect nooks and crannies to hide in during daylight hours and the once any temporary rock material is transported away the toads hitch a free ride to a new location.

This potential was well demonstrated on Friday when over 50 cane toads were collected in just 20 minutes from adjacent to the Pacific Highway at the north side of the Mororo bridge and many of those toads were sitting on areas of rock associated with the Highway construction.

With the new highway work in the Clarence Valley pushing well beyond the southern extent of the known breeding populations of cane toads all organisations or people involved in toad control efforts are keen to see this potential for the spread of toads to be reduced as much as practical.

This Friday night (April 12) CVCIA Landcare will be checking the West Yamba area for its weekly toad roundup with a focus around Carrs Drive where control of cane toads by volunteers, some landowners and toading contractors has been pursued for a number of years with reasonable success.

Any person interested in participating in some cane toad control is most welcome to attend and volunteers will meet at 6.30pm in Carrs Drive at the front of St James Primary School with all attending asked to bring a bright torch/headlamp and sturdy shoes that are essential for a successful and safe toading experience. All enquiries can be directed to Scott on phone 0477 616 210.