Sonora, CA — Serious damage has been discovered at a high elevation meadow being used to study and monitor the habitat of the Yosemite Toad.
Upon arriving at Groundhog Meadow near Herring Creek in the Stanislaus National Forest on June 24th, Forest Service researchers saw a blue pickup loaded with motorcycles making a hasty retreat. The team entered the meadow on foot and found it terribly scarred with deep wheel ruts.
The deep cuts drained a shallow layer of water off the meadow, stranding the eggs and tadpoles living there.
“At this stage there is very little we can do to save them,” said Kimberly Peterson, biological team crew member. “By the time the restoration work is complete the meadow will be dry and the fledging life is lost. It is just horrible, the damage that is done to the sensitive ecosystem at Groundhog Meadow, not to mention the research completed over the last three years of a five year study is severely compromised.”
The research project is a joint effort of the Forest Service Pacific Southwest Sierra Nevada Research Center, University of California at Berkeley and Yosemite National Park.
Anyone with information on who may be responsible should contact the California Fish and Game Environmental Crime Hotline at 1-888-334-2258. Off road motorcycle and ATV riders are encouraged to stop in the local ranger district offices to find where it is legal to ride in the Stanislaus.
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