Public meeting on habitat designation for frogs and toads

mountain_yellow_legged_frog.jpgAs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves forward with plans to designate what they call critical habitat for frogs and toads in the Eastern Sierra high country, down below citizens fear that the bureaucratic plan will halt trout plants in some lakes and hurt recreation. The Inyo Board of Supervisors scheduled a special meeting for Monday at 6pm at the Home Economics Building at the fairgrounds.

Fish and Wildlife spokesmen have said that their critical habitat designation for the yellow-legged frog and Yosemite toad will not in itself stop trout planting or access to the back country. Robert Moler, Public Information Officer for Fish and Wildlife, said that the designation would cause the Forest Service to consider its projects on federal land. He said, “Each activity is thoroughly evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time the federal agency involved consults with the Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Fish and Wildlife wants to list the frogs and toads as endangered. Biologists say that these amphibians play a critical role in the web of life and natural food chain. They are food for snakes, birds, coyotes and bears.

In a letter to Fish and Wildlife, the Inyo Supervisors had called the critical habitat designations “premature” and a problem for the local economy. The Board will meet Monday with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Forest Service. A County press release says that over 100,000 acres in Inyo County would be designated as critical habitat.

The Inyo Board said that Monday’s meeting will allow the public to better understand impacts and how the Forest Service might respond to the new designation. The Inyo Board provided an internet link for comments and information: Proposed Endangered Species Listing Rule (FWS-R8-ES-2013-0110 or Proposed Critical Habitat Rule (FWS-R8-ES-2013-0074; or at the County Planning link:


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6 Responses to Public meeting on habitat designation for frogs and toads

  1. Mark September 23, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    It was probably not wise to spend 60 years building an economy around an invasive species..

    Yet that is what they want to continue to do..

    • Water Moccasin September 23, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      Mark, We do it well. Slaughtered buffalo and passenger pigeons, then raise cattle and poultry. Cut down Valley Oaks to plant grains that give less food per acre with much more work. Sheep instead of antelope. Trout instead of pupfish. Walk into the Garden of Eden and decide to tear it out, because we can do better. We know better than the Master Chef. Our taste for the forbidden fruit runs deep.

  2. Philip Anaya September 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Last night at this meeting we all heard about the Chytrid Fungus as being one of the factors for the demise of the Frogs and the Toad. I googled Chytrid Fungus and found a web site

    Dr. Kerry Kreiger in the nearly 2 hour recorded webcast shares his research of this fungus that is responsible for the “mass mortality” effects of this affliction to frogs all over the world. Start the playback at about 40 minutes to hear about his Chytrid research. Trout do eat frogs at all stages of their development but apparently they are not as reponsible for the current threat of the frogs in the Sierras. In the first 40 minutes of the webcast the need to limit the importing of frogs for food, lab and the exotic pet market who are carrying this fungus is discussed and maybe the US Fish and Wildlife should be paying some attention to this issue.

  3. Eric Mills September 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Here’s part of the problem, and one with an easy fix, had the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife the moxie to do it (they don’t, as yet):

    California annually imports some TWO MILLION non-native American bullfrogs for human consumption, most commercially-raised in Taiwan, and sold in various Chinatown live animal food markets.

    When released into local waters (an illegal though common practice), the bullfrogs prey upon and displace our native wildlife. Add to that, they are all diseased and/or parasitized (though it’s illegal to sell such products for food).

    WORSE STILL, THE MAJORITY OF THE MARKET BULLFROGS, HERE AND ELSEWHERE, TEST POSITIVE FOR THE CHYTRID FUNGUS. Back in 2010, our State Fish & Game Commission voted unanimously to stop the import permits. Undaunted, the DFW declined to do as ordered, with then-director John McCamman only weeks later stating that the Dept. would continue to issue the permits on a month-to-month basis. When challenged by an irate Commissioner Dan Richards (one of the commission’s better appointees, hence railroaded), Deputy Director Sonke Mastrup could only mutter, “The Director acts at the pleasure of the Governor.” Say what?! So much for the democratic process, and ignoring one’s mandate. What IS the Governor’s “pleasure” on this issue, one wonders?

    The Department & Commission have received more than 3,000 letters in recent years demanding that the market frogs and turtles be banned, all to no avail. Letters from environmentalists, sportmen’s organizations, legislators, et al. Former Resources Secretary Huey Johnson wrote twice in support of the ban. No dice. Too much $$$, fear of being called “racist,” and the fear of political reprisals from the Asian community, esp. in San Francisco, environmental protection be damned.

    Some letters of concern to Gov. Brown might be helpful: c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. Also to Chuck Bonham, Director of Fish & Wildlife; and John Laird, current Resources Secretary. Both may be written c/o 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. EMAIL – Director Chuck Bonham,; John Laird,


    Eric Mills, coordinator

    • Mark Zero September 25, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      So this is the American Bullfrog that was introduced to California, Asia, and much of the world? Now the invasive species we introduced to California is being infected by (along with others) it’s family returning from Asia? We can’t raise or hunt enough market bullfrogs here? It’s racist to say you can’t import American food? Mark Twain would have something to say about this, Ship Aground.

  4. Kerry Kriger, Ph.D. September 24, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    Hi Philip Anaya,
    Yes I did make that video, but I never said that chytrid fungus was the only reason frogs are in trouble. Frogs have many threats, and the threats are not mutually exclusive. Thanks for your support of amphibian conservation efforts. it is our responsibility to prevent extinctions of wildlife and preserve a healthy planet for future generations.
    Kerry Kriger, Ph.D.


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