The Fowler’s Toad is a medium-sized toad that uses both aquatic and terrestrial habitats to complete its life cycle. Fowler’s Toads are found on sandy or rocky points, sand dunes and beaches along Lake Erie, where they breed in sandy-bottomed ponds or rocky pools. The species was assessed by the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) and listed as endangered on September 28, 2010. More information about the species' status can be found at: Fowler’s Toad webpage.

The habitat regulation for Fowler’s Toad protects:

  • any parts of wetlands, ponds or other bodies of water, including vernal or other temporary pools that are being used for breeding, egg laying or tadpole development as well as the 30 metres around such areas;
  • natural or man-made hibernation sites;
  • in the geographic township of Walsingham: suitable habitat is protected up to a distance of 150 metres up and down the shoreline from known occurrences of Fowler’s Toad and up to 700 metres inland from the shoreline.
  • in all other listed geographic townships: suitable habitat is protected up to a distance of 150 metres up and down the shoreline from known occurrences of Fowler’s Toad and up to 300 metres inland from the shoreline;
  • the dispersal corridor along the water’s edge, where the distance between two occupied areas is less than one kilometre; and
  • n naturally occurring areas used by Fowler’s Toad to migrate between breeding areas, hibernation sites and/or seasonally used beach areas, where at least two such features are within 1 km of each other.

The above areas are protected until five consecutive years of documented non-use. Suitable habitats for Fowler’s Toad include open, shrub, or treed sand or pebble beaches, sand dunes, and sand barrens; marshes; ponds; other bodies of water, including vernal or other temporary pools; or rock shoals.

The regulation applies in the geographic townships of Harwich and Howard within the Municipality of Chatham- Kent, the geographic townships of Bertie, Humberstone and Wainfleet within the Regional Municipality of Niagara, the geographic townships of Cayuga, Dunn, Moulton, Rainham and Sherbrooke within Haldimand County, the geographic township of Charlotteville, Houghton, and Walsingham within Norfolk County and the geographic township of Bayham within Elgin County.

Supporting rationale

  • In order to complete its life cycle, the Fowler’s Toad requires a variety of habitats to support hibernation, breeding, egg laying, tadpole development, feeding and hydration.
  • A distance of 150 metres represents approximately two times the average seasonal movement observed for Fowler’s Toad per year.
  • A one kilometre movement corridor between occupied areas enables longer distance movements between hibernation and breeding sites in areas where these features may be more limited, as well as provides for gene flow between occupied sites.
  • The distance of 700/300 metres inland from the shoreline represents the furthest approximate distance travelled inland by Fowler’s Toads in these areas respectively.
  • A five-year term allows sufficient time to determine that the site is no longer being used.

Activities in Fowler’s Toad habitat

Activities in regulated habitat can continue as long as the function of these areas is maintained and individuals of the species are not killed, harmed, or harassed.

Generally compatible:

  • Yard work such as maintenance of existing lawns and gardens.
  • Renovations or the building of small structures such as sheds.
  • Hiking on existing, sanctioned recreational trails.
  • Recreational use of beach areas that does not result in compaction of the sand.

Generally not compatible footnote * :

  • Significant alteration, clearing, or dredging of natural features, such as dunes, ponds and wetlands.
  • Large-scale construction, such as a housing development or roads.
  • Replacement of natural dune and beach shoreline with artificial stabilization or erosion control structures such as breakwalls or the construction of piers or gryones.
  • Beach maintenance activities such as grading, grooming, clearing of algae, and mechanical removal of sand (except when performed in a manner or time of year that maintains habitat functionality for Fowler’s Toad).

Key terms

  • Vernal pool: A temporary pool of water which collects in a landform depression following snowmelt and heavy spring rains.
  • Hibernation sites: Over wintering areas used by Fowler’s Toad to avoid freezing. Hibernation sites typically include sand dunes and sufficiently deep sand areas in which toads can successfully dig below the frost line to just above the water table and remain over winter (7 to 8 months).

Below you will find an example diagram of how this regulation would be applied to protect habitat for this species. It indicates how the protected habitat has been categorized, based on how the species uses the habitat and how much activity or change can occur within the habitat, as per the policy "Categorizing and Protecting Habitat Under the Endangered Species Act". This policy can be found at: Categorizing and Protecting Habitat Under the Endangered Species Act

Sample application of the Habitat Regulation:

Map 1: Sample application of the Habitat Regulation

Diagram illustrating a sample application of the habitat regulation for Fowler’s Toad, depicting the habitat categorization described in this document.

Enlarge Map 1: Sample application of the Habitat Regulation

The content of this summary is provided for convenience only. For accurate reference and the most recent version of the regulation, please view Ontario Regulation 832/21 on e-laws.