Frogs, toad get federal protections

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

Three species of Sierra Nevada amphibians have been approved for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday.

The mountain yellow-legged frog and Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog will be listed as endangered, while the Yosemite toad will be listed as threatened. A separate decision is due early next year on whether to designate 2 million acres in the Sierra Nevada as critical habitat for the native amphibians to recover. The designation would include about one-third of Tuolumne County's total acreage.

The final rule on the Endangered Species Act protections is due to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. It will become effective June 30.

All three species were once abundant in the Sierra Nevada but have declined over the past several decades, the service said. They are now found primarily on publicly managed lands at high elevations, including streams, lakes, ponds and meadow habitats located in national forests or parks.

The amphibians are spread throughout 17 California counties, including Tuolumne and Calaveras.

For the complete story, see the April 28, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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