Union Democrat staff

Biologists, bureaucrats will rule over frog issue

To the Editor:

Re: Union Democrat article July 18 "McClintock sets frog hearing"

While backpacking in 2009, my family visited McCabe Lakes in Yosemite. Middle McCabe lake had fish killing nets strung across it, with no live fish anywhere to be seen. We ran into a gentleman who turned out to be the biologist in charge of restoring the frog habitat of this lake. He explained that trout of all varieties are not native to any Sierra lakes with waterfalls below them, and were only there because humans had planted them. He mentioned that more than 10,000 fish had been caught and killed in this lake as part of the restoration. He said that trout killed frogs. My own thinking is that the Sierras are fairly vertical as mountains go, with waterfalls below many lakes, making those lakes designate-able as critical habitat for frogs.

How would this practice apply to potentially one third of Tuolumne county (per article) that would be designated critical frog habitat? I don't know, but once this designation is in effect, biologists and bureaucrats will be in charge with no practical recourse for the public. The insane measures required for protection of the elderberry beetle are a clue to where these critical habitat designations can end up. The fight over the handmade stone and concrete dams in the Emigrant Wilderness is another example of how these issues can play out.

I have no love for the Western Mining Alliance which is opposing this, but the huge area affected makes this an onerous proposal. I plan on being at the meeting at the Sonora fairgrounds at 2 p.m., August 6.

Scot Turner