A Section of King Road will Close to Allow Jefferson Salamanders’ to Begin their Breeding Migration.

By Staff

February 26th, 2024



As temperatures rise, the annual migration of a local endangered species across King Road begins.

The City will close a section of King Road to allow for Jefferson salamanders’ breeding migration.

Starting on Monday, March 5, King Road, from North Service Road to Mountain Brow Road, will be closed so the salamanders can cross the road safely and find a mate. Local traffic for all properties between North Service Road and the escarpment will be maintained. King Road will reopen for through traffic on Tuesday, April 2, once the salamanders are expected to finish their annual crossing.

The Jefferson Salamander was the reason an Ontario Municipal Board hearing decided not to grant an extension to a license.

Burlington has closed this section of road since 2012 so the salamanders can cross safely. They are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species.  They are also the species that brought an application to extend the license to mine the Nelson Quarry to a screeching halt.

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.

Properly promoted the creature could become a viral reference for Burlington.

Jefferson salamanders spend most of their lives underground. As the weather warms up and the spring rain starts, the salamanders surface and begin their voyage to breed in temporary ponds formed by run-off. They lay 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 juveniles and leave the pond to head into nearby forests.

Adult salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds during wet rainy nights. They are drawn to the pond where they hatched and can be very determined to reach it, sometimes crossing busy roads to get back to their birthplace.

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Quick Facts

  • The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.
  • Jefferson salamanders have a grey or brown-coloured back, with lighter under-parts. Blue flecks may be present on the sides and limbs.
  • Adult Jefferson salamanders are 12 to 20 cm long. The long tail makes up half this length.
  • Females tend to be larger than males. The males have swollen vents during the breeding season.
  • Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time; up to 30 years of age.

Lesley Matich, Manager, Science and Monitoring, Conservation Halton
“For over a decade, Conservation Halton has partnered with the City of Burlington to ensure that the Jefferson Salamander can safely make the trek across King Road, towards their spring breeding ponds. These efforts have a direct impact on this endangered species’ capacity for survival and long-term recovery. We are proud to partner with the City of Burlington again this year to support the salamanders’ spring journey and protect biodiversity in our watershed.”

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1 comment to A Section of King Road will Close to Allow Jefferson Salamanders’ to Begin their Breeding Migration.

  • Grahame Richards

    Is the OMB still in existence?

    Editor’s note: OMB was replaced by LPAT which has been replaced by OLT