The Center for Biological Diversity today petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to list all populations of the highly imperiled mountain yellow-legged frog as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.
Mountain yellow-legged frogs inhabit high-elevation lakes, ponds, and streams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Transverse Ranges of California and are on a rapid trend to extinction. Their rapid decline is due to predation by introduced trout, spread of diseases that may be exacerbated by exposure to pesticides, and habitat alterations caused by climate change, drought, and livestock grazing.
“Once the most abundant frog in the high Sierra, the mountain yellow-legged frog now barely clings to survival,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The mountain yellow-legged frog needs the protections of the California Endangered Species Act to have any chance at recovery.”
Although mountain yellow-legged frogs throughout California should be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has only listed the Southern California population as endangered. In response to a 2000 petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Service determined that Sierra Nevada mountain yellow-legged frogs also warrant federal listing as endangered, but that such listing is precluded by actions to list other species. As a fallback the agency placed the Sierra population on the candidate list, which does not confer federal protection. The average time on the waiting list for candidate species is 17 years, and many animals and plants have gone extinct while languishing on this list.
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