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[whitespace] Save the Frogs!

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishes draft recovery plan for red-legged frogs

By Jessica Lyons

ARBORETUM VOLUNTEERS aren't the only ones who want to save the California red-legged frog. Historically, the California turf of the red-legged frog has extended coastally from the Point Reyes National Seashore and inland from Redding, down to northwestern Baja. Because of a 70 percent reduction in its geographical range resulting from habitat loss and development, the Endangered Species Act mandates that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develops a California red-legged-frog-recovery plan to protect frog habitat in perpetuity.

In May, Fish and Wildlife published a draft recovery plan for the frogs. The plan, which is in its public comment period, identifies populations of California red-legged frogs and proposes restoring and creating habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Service is also under a court order to propose critical habitat for the frog by Aug. 31.

The plan lists several ponds and creeks as established frog-breeding grounds, but to the horror of UCSC frog friends, the Arboretum Pond didn't make the list. It's not cited among the long-standing breeding habitats for red-legged frogs. Arboretum volunteers worry that without Fish and Wildlife intervention, more UCSC frog habitat will be destroyed.

Here's a chance to change it. "The draft is based on information available," says U.S. Fish and Wildlife ecologist Ivana Noell. "Information that there is a known breeding pond [at UCSC] should be made available to the recovery team--it's crucial that people who have the information provide it to the recovery team."

So once again, to prove that the pen is indeed mightier than the bulldozer, public comments on the draft plan can be sent to: Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, Sacramento, California, 95825-1846. Comments must be received by Aug. 10. For more information, visit http://www.r1.fws.gov/news/2000-89.htm. For a sample letter, check out: http://members.cruzio.com/~vollmer/letters/marthafrog.html.

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From the August 2-9, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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