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Cape Cod National Seashore to Continue Traffic Detours on Province Lands Road to Protect Spadefoot Toads for 2013

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Date: April 10, 2013
Contact: Robert Cook, Wildlife Ecologist, 508-487-3262 ext. 0503

The superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore announces that traffic on Province Lands Road will continue to be occasionally detoured to protect spadefoot toads.The detour, which may be implemented from April through October, on rainy nights, is intended to help protect the eastern spadefoot toad. The spadefoot toad, which is listed as "Threatened" by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, uses shallow temporary ponds in the Province Lands for breeding and the surrounding uplands to feed.They migrate to and from these ponds on rainy nights, especially when the water table is high and temperatures are above 48 degrees.While spadefoot toads are not rare in the Province Lands, the National Seashore is one of their last strongholds in New England.Heavy mortality from vehicles, over the long term, could cause this population to decline.

Province Lands Road is a popular crossing for many toads, and unfortunately many could be killed during their crossing. To lessen vehicle impacts on the toads in the National Seashore, the park will occasionally close Province Lands Road from just past (north of) the entrance to Herring Cove Beach to the intersection with Race Point Road.These closures will only occur at night, during or after rain, and will be infrequent. Because the water table in the Province Lands is high this year, resource specialists expect there will be high spadefoot toad activity this spring. Herring Cove Beach will remain accessible from Route 6 and Race Point Road will be unaffected, allowing continued access to Province Lands Visitor Center, Race Point Beach, Provincetown Airport, Race Point Ranger Station, and the oversand corridor. Superintendent George Price said, "The spadefoot toad migration is one of the many increasingly rare natural phenomena still to be found in the National Seashore.We're pleased that we've found a way to allow spadefoot toads to survive the trip to and from their breeding ponds, while still maintaining visitor access to Herring Cove and the Race Point area."The detours will be managed by signs and traffic control devices.Please drive slowly, to protect your own safety as well as park wildlife.


Did You Know?

vernal pond

The hydrologic system of lower Cape Cod consists of four distinct ground-water lenses, or flow cells, which receive recharge through precipitation. Other hydrologic features besides groundwater include kettle ponds, freshwater wetlands (vernal ponds), freshwater streams, and estuarine wetlands.