Sacramento, CA — Federal Officials have granted a controversial Endangered Species designation for three amphibians.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today determined that two types of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog are endangered species, and that the Yosemite toad is threatened. The designations will go into effect June 30.
Service Spokesperson Dan Russell says the distinction should have little effect on the public. He explains, “Private citizens, unless there is a federal action they are undertaking, through a federal agency, it should not affect them in any way.”
The listing gives the animals legal protections from human-caused impacts. Government studies show the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog has declined by nearly 70 percent, while the separate mountain yellow-legged frog numbers have dropped by more than 80 percent. The Yosemite toad’s population is down about 50 percent. The service blames habitat destruction, climate change and disease for the species’ decline.
The next step will be the federal designation of critical habitat for the species, which consist of how much land the amphibians need to recover. That will include thousands of acres across Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties. As reported earlier, Mother Lode Congressman Tom McClintock has been critical of federal protections citing it could restrict land access and limit or forbid activities in the designated areas. In addition, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors sent two letters to the service objecting to the designation.
Click here for more information on these species and the designation.