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Study: Frog plan to cost $$

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a study last week that looked into the potential economic impacts of designating nearly 2 million acres in the Sierra Nevada as “critical habitat” for yellow-legged mountain frogs and Yosemite toads.

The draft economic analysis released Friday estimated the impact at between $630,000 and $1.5 million over a period of 17 years. The service said a large portion of that amount would be borne by federal agencies because 97 percent of the land proposed for designation is federally owned.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s analysis, the impacts are mostly associated with administrative costs for required federal agency consultations when a project is proposed on land designated as critical habitat. Examples of projects or activities that would require federal agency consultation include fish stocking, water operations, grazing and recreation.

The service’s analysis also found the rule would affect more than 350 “small entities,” which includes small businesses, town governments serving fewer than 50,000 residents and independent organizations such as nonprofit groups.

The Fish and Wildlife Service opened a 60-day comment period on the draft of the economic analysis. The public is invited to submit information on the draft, as well as the proposals to list the amphibians and designate the habitat.


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