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Habitat Cuts Proposed For Endangered Frog

Calaveras County, CA — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating 80 percent less habitat for the California red-legged frog.

In a release last week, the service refined an existing proposal for the frogs´ critical-habitat in 23 California counties including Calaveras. The first proposal released in 2001 was challenged in court by the building industry and the service was ordered to come up with a new plan.

But in the new plan habitat is decreased from 4 million acres to 740,000.

Using improved mapping technology, the service has eliminated what it calls nonessential areas of habitat. Previously the service had designated blocks of watersheds that may not have had frogs living there.

According to the service´s Sacramento office, the south fork of the Calaveras River was part of the original habitat proposal and is not on the current plan. But a new area between Valley Springs and Mokelumne Hill has been added. It consists of 4,500 acres along Young´s Creek.

A public comment period on the proposed plan will end February 1, 2006. Comments may be mailed to the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office at 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W. 2605, faxed to (916) 414-6712 or e-mailed to fw1crlf@fws.gov.