DOW workshops will train volunteers to find endangered toad |

DOW workshops will train volunteers to find endangered toad

Jeremy Heiman

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will conduct two workshops for those interested in helping with the recovery of the boreal toad, a Colorado species with a population which has declined rapidly in recent years.

The workshops will be held at the White River National Forest headquarters, 900 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs. Times are Friday, May 21, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 22, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The once-common boreal toad is classified as endangered in Colorado, and is also being considered for federal classification, said Geoff Tischbein, an information specialist for DOW.

The division is gradually becoming aware of more populations of the species. “We’re finding more, the more we look,” said Tischbein.

The workshops will instruct observers on where to look and how to identify the toads.

DOW biologist Chuck Loeffler, who heads the division’s boreal toad program, said the DOW needs volunteers who hike in high mountain areas of the state to report boreal toad sightings to help the agency assemble information on remaining populations. The ultimate goal is to determine the reason for the dropping numbers of this formerly common species and perhaps reverse the decline.

Elaine Kehm, volunteer coordinator at DOW’s Grand Junction office, said a team made up of state and federal officials and university researchers is developing a recovery strategy for the species. It would take a tremendous amount of DOW staff time to search all the areas that have potential as boreal toad habitat, and the volunteers will speed up the search.

Kehm said a lot of space remains open for additional participants in the training sessions.

“What we’re looking for is volunteers who enjoy hiking in the backcountry,” Kehm said. Volunteers can combine toad searching with camping or fishing trips. The toads are found at elevations of 8,000 feet and higher, Kehm said. About 50 known breeding populations of the toads remain throughout the state.

To register for a workshop, call Elaine Kehm, DOW Western Region Volunteer Coordinator, (970) 947-2922, or Chuck Loeffler, (303) 291-7451.

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