Sonora, CA — A foundation representing agricultural industry groups has filed a lawsuit challenging federal habitat designations designed to protect the Yosemite Toad and two yellow-legged frog species in the Sierra Nevada.
Last August the US Fish and Wildlife Service formally designated 1.8 million acres in northern and central California as “critical habitat” for the endangered frogs and toads. It includes land in 16 California counties, including Tuolumne, Calaveras, Mariposa, Amador, Mono and Alpine. The three species were listed as “threatened” in 2014 under the Endangered Species Act.
The lawsuit filed by Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents the California Cattlemen’s Association, California Farm Bureau Federation and the California Wool Growers Association, argues that federal officials ignored the economic impacts on small businesses, landowners and local governments.
The group argues that the designation restricts the use of the land for grazing and timber harvesting, which in turn reduces revenues that go to local governments and school districts.
Pacific Legal Foundation Senior Attorney M. Reed Harper says, “Bureaucrats imposed these habitat decrees without due regard for their effect on the lives and livelihoods of rural residents.”
The federal designations are designed to protect the frogs and toads from human caused impacts.