Did you know D6 might be largely off limits if the yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad are added to the endangered species list? You’ll have to find another place to hunt, farther from home, or risk substantial penalties for encroaching on the critical habitat of these little amphibians.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the frog and toad populations are declining and must be protected from non-native trout, from an African fungus, from recreational activities and from climate change. In a public hearing I attended last month in Sonora, the Fish and Wildlife Service rep admitted there is no evidence that recreational activities or increasing the amphibians’ habitat would reduce the decline of their population. Scientists know of no way to stop the fungus infection or to control Mother Nature, so how will declaring huge areas off limits improve the situation?
Let the service know that the frog and toad don’t need to be listed. Let it know that designating large expanses of critical habitat and restricting access to public lands will not have the positive effects it hopes for. The service will accept comments through Nov. 18.
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CAROL JO HARGREAVES
Editor’s Note: According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, “a critical habitat designation only has any bearing on activities that are authorized, funded, or carried out by a federal agency” and would not affect privately owned land. It would not block public access for recreational activities. The complete “proposed ruling” is available in the Federal Register. An easier-to-understand explanation is available at www.fws.gov, then search for “Yosemite toad.”