The boreal toad is Colorado's only alpine species of toad, inhabiting lakes, marshes and ponds at elevations between 8,000- 12,000 feet. Formerly widespread and common, the small toads are now extremely scarce. Because of declining populations, Colorado listed the boreal toad as a state endangered species in 1993. In the past two decades, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has devoted significant resources to determine why the toad populations have declined and to explore viable options for recovery.
Biologists now know that the chytrid fungus, a pathogen that causes a fatal skin disease in amphibians, is the primary reason for the boreal toad's sharp decline.
Colorado in Action
Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility (NASRF) has played a critical role in efforts to restore boreal toads to Colorado ecosystems. The NASRF has raised 133,546 tadpoles, toadlets and adult toads, which CPW biologists have translocated to help reestablish boreal toads in their historical habitat.
The greatest obstacle for biologists, however, is locating suitable habitat that is unaffected by the chytrid fungus. In 2014, biologists documented a breeding population of boreal toads near Cameron Pass—the first translocation effort that has resulted in known recruitment and natural reproduction. CPW biologists are hopeful that future translocations will establish additional breeding sites throughout the state.
For information on Boreal Toad Research Projects, please visit the Boreal Toad Research page.