At a time when amphibians are declining at a faster rate than birds and mammals, Froglife’s new Yorkshire T.O.A.D. (Tails of Amphibian Discovery) project is about to launch, with a grant by the ‘Green Recovery Challenge Fund’ – a key player in the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Froglife is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the £80million fund which is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency. The funding, just shy of £250k, (£247,800) is set to run from now until 31st March 2022 and builds on Froglife’s existing work in Yorkshire – from the successful Toad Summit they ran in 2020 to their extensive habitat work, in particular a corridor in Sheffield helping birds and dormice as well as amphibians.
Yorkshire T.O.A.D will focus on work around Common Toads, a species that has declined by 68% over 30 years, and if allowed to continue at the same rate, could be extinct within 10. Froglife will address these declines by working with council landowners in Wakefield, Kirklees, Leeds, York and Calderdale on 22 wildlife sites that have been identified either as in need of restoration or will benefit from new habitat creation, by helping improve freshwater and terrestrial habitats whilst also implementing mitigation strategies at toad patrol sites. They hope to create 32 ponds, restore 22, plant 5 wildflower meadows and install 1 dipping platform and deliver a volunteer training programme on habitat management for a minimum of 660 volunteers.
Froglife have already been co-ordinating ‘Toads on the Roads’ toad patrols up and down the country for over 20 years. Yorkshire T.O.A.D will work with existing toad patrols in Yorkshire, to undertake a toad patrol audit in order to identify further improvements that can be made to stop toad road mortality – the largest contributor to the decline in toad populations. (Toads return to their traditional breeding ponds each year and new and busier roads are hard for them to successfully navigate).
To raise awareness and understanding of the importance of conserving toads and indeed all of the UKs wildlife as well as the vital role that nature plays in combatting the negative impacts of climate change, Yorkshire T.O.A.D will also run a public engagement programme. This will include working with communities to create 5 Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors through urban landscapes, the hosting of Wildlife Gardening Workshops and Open Days: Pond Doctor Marquees, VR Experience, AR Experience, Wildlife Photography, Walks and Graffiti Boards.
Kathy Wormald, CEO of Froglife said “At other sites where we’ve made habitat improvements, we’ve witnessed an increase in common toad populations so we’re very excited to have received this funding to further are work in Yorkshire, a county in which we already have close working relationships.”
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, speaking of Yorkhire T.O.A.D and all of the other projects which have been awarded government funding said:
“These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus. I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”