1.6 million acres of California land designated as habitat for endangered frog

March 16, 2010 By Julie Cart

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday designated 1.6 million acres in California as critical habitat for the endangered red-legged frog, made famous by Mark Twain in his story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

The amphibian that once was so populous that it was commonly featured on restaurant menus eventually became endangered because of development encroaching on its habitat and the effects of pesticides and other chemicals.

The habitat area is divided into 50 units across 27 California counties, including six counties that previously did not have designated : Mendocino, Sonoma, Placer, Calaveras, Stanislaus and Kings.

It was the third time the agency has attempted to assign a protected area for the . Prior efforts were thwarted, first in 2001 by a lawsuit from the building industry, which objected to setting aside 4.1 million acres for frog habitat. Most recently, the agency reduced critical habitat to 450,000 acres in a controversial 2006 decision by Interior Department official Julie MacDonald, who was found to have provided internal documents to lobbyists and pressured scientists to alter their conclusions. MacDonald later resigned.

Noah Greenwald, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued over the original habitat decision, said the decision was a "step in the right direction" and noted that protecting California red-legged frogs has the benefit of protecting the greater ecosystem.

"Red-legged frogs are a strong indicator for clean flowing water and wetlands," Greenwald said. "As we've lost wetland habitats and as we've polluted water, we've lost this species. That has consequences for all of us."

Tuesday's decision includes a provision formulated in 2006 that exempts ranchers and farmers from violations of the if their activities unintentionally harm protected frogs. The rule was crafted to credit private landowners for any benefit they provide for the frog, such as providing habitat in livestock ponds.

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the 20-year economic impact of the habitat designation to be $159 million to $500 million, with about 90 percent of the impacts on new development. Another $48.4 million of the cost is projected crop loss.

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Mar 16, 2010
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not rated yet Mar 17, 2010
"The rule was crafted to credit private landowners for any benefit they provide for the frog, such as providing habitat in livestock ponds."

How is Calafailure going to do that? maybe with a stack of IOUs haha

Just to be fair, i suppose it's a nice cause...i hope the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is coming up with tons of donations to support such a project...If they rely on the state to enforce...this will be axed, though being calafailure...education will probably go first.
not rated yet Mar 17, 2010
its not 1.6 million acres for the one frog...its a good breathing space and ecosystem for others including us.....there will still be plenty of land to use for solar energy and other high tech futures

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