Nattering with the toads in North Wales

Philip Bennett-Lloyd, Technical Director, had an interesting evening on 19 April finding out about the management of Talacre Dunes on the North Wales coast. The event was organised by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and led by Kim Norman, the Land Management Advisor for Eni Liverpool Bay. The evening covered the reintroduction programme of natterjack toads (tragically named Bufo calamita) including a dusk survey of several of the ponds for adults and spawn.

Reintroducing Natterjack Toads

Natterjack toads were first recorded here in the early 20th century – at the extreme edge of their northern European range. However, due to sustained habitat loss and fragmentation the species was lost by the 1950s.

Now though, their “chirring” calls can be heard of a spring evening (preferably a mild but damp one!), around the shallow ponds created and managed for their benefit.

Following the reintroduction programme which started in 1996, Gronant Dunes and Talacre Warren Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is the only site in Wales providing a home to the natterjack toad.

In 1999 the first naturally spawning Welsh natterjacks (llyffant y twyni!) were seen on the site. It has been one of the most successful reintroduction programmes ever since, with almost 250 spawning adults in 2012.

JBA’s involvement

The dunes are significant to the coastal defence work we’re doing at East Rhyl, which will incorporate an element of beach recharge – topping up and sustaining higher beach levels to improve resilience against storm events.

The dunes and their dynamics are, in part, dependent on sediment/sand moving west-east along the coast. Building an understanding of the pressures, vulnerabilities and opportunities that might present themselves from this project forms a key part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process which informs the design and consenting of the scheme.

Want to know more?

Visit our Environmental Services web pages for more information on the varying environment aspects we can assist your projects with.

You can also contact Philip Bennett-Lloyd for more information on his attendance at this event and the East Rhyl project.

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