Wednesday, April 1, 2015
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

County critiques yellow-legged frog studies

By
From page A1 | August 23, 2013 |

Congressman Tom McClintock and seven other California representatives successfully petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend the public comment period regarding the mountain yellow-legged frog and Yosemite toad. The federal agency has proposed listing the two amphibians as endangered species and recommended a critical habitat designation that would effectively close about 2 million acres in the Sierra Nevada and foothills to most public activities.

The original deadline was June 24, but after urgent complaints from multiple jurisdictions that they needed at least 90 days more to study the issue as it related to them, USFWS Acting Regional Director Alexandra Pitts granted an extension through Nov. 18.
McClintock sponsored a forum Aug. 6 in Sonora that featured a PowerPoint show by Pitts and presentations by representatives from Tuolumne, Calaveras, Siskiyou and El Dorado counties. Mike Applegarth, principal analyst with the Chief Administrative Office, represented El Dorado County.
Controversy surrounds the “science” related to the mountain yellow-legged frog, less the two other species listed by the USFWS, the Yosemite Toad and the southern mountain yellow-legged frog, which is described as a separate and distinct population.
The federal agency asserts that non-native trout, a specific fungus and human activity are responsible for a serious decline in the Sierra populations of  the MYL Frog. Introduction of non-native trout to the frog’s habitat is a result of human activity as it represents fish-planting by public and private agencies.
Fish and Wildlife documents cite about 300 scientific studies that tend to support that conclusion at first reading, according to Applegarth.
Applegarth shared his pre-conference notes with the Mountain Democrat last week. In his introduction, he acknowledges that he is a “local government analyst,” who “like many in the audience today have no formal scientific training.”
He continues, however, to note that he discovered inconsistencies between the existing studies and the conclusions reached by the USFWS. The federal agency concludes that “recreational activities, dams and water diversions, livestock grazing, timber management, road construction and fire management” have “degraded habitat in ways that have compromised the frogs capacity to sustain viable populations,” Applegarth quotes.
And while the documentation is “overwhelming,” he writes, “the science is not overwhelming, only its application. In other words, the ‘science’ doesn’t appear to make the case that U.S. Fish and Wildlife suggests.”
Highlighting elements of some of those studies, Applegarth writes that the direct effects of recreation activities on the frog’s decline “have not been implicated” and that “studies have not been conducted to determine” such effects. Likewise, he quotes, “The extent of the impact to mountain yellow-legged frog populations from habitat loss or modification due to (dams and water diversion) has not been quantified.”
Citing his review of the scientific literature, Applegarth notes that the impact of grazing, timber harvesting and fire management activities has not been adequately studied and states, “In short the premise that the decline in species population is due to human activity is unsubstantiated.”
What is killing the yellow-legged frog? Non-native trout, planted in previously “fishless” ponds and streams, have been identified as a significant cause of depredation. More deadly, however, has been disease from a specific fungus known as “(Bd)” which has been called a “worldwide amphibian epidemic.”
On its own Website, the U.S. National Park Service describes only these two factors as the culprits causing decline of the mountain yellow-legged frog.
In his and fellow representatives’  written request to the USFWS, McClintock describes the impact to the local economy as “devastating” if the frog listings and designations of critical habitat become policy. Proposed restrictions on logging, mining, recreation, grazing, fishing and fish stocking pose such a severe threat that the public needs adequate time to prepare responses and plan ways to deal with the issues, McClintock says in his request for a time extension.
The extension to November is a first step in what is known to be a lengthy process that will include environmental impact statements (federal version of an EIR), periods of public comment, publication of draft EIS, more public comment and preparation of a final EIS.
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected]. Follow @CDaleyMtDemo. 

Comments

Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the MtDemocrat.com digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your online subscription

Help?
.

News

Judge Ashworth focused on family

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New irrigation schedule for EID customers

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Crafty creations for kiosks

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Dispensary files to get marijuana back

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Judge Sullivan aims to help community

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Burglar given 46 years

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Heard over the back fence: Don’t be fooled

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

 
Boys and Girls Club to break ground April 18

By Boys And Girls Club El Dorado County Western Slope | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My turn: Making progress

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Charles Krauthammer: The GOP racing form: First edition

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

Home country: Squirrel jacking

By Slim Randles | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Will it resolve anything?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Fear of firearms

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Animal Shelter open as human shelter closes

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
All for the rifle range

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

D’back arms quiet Grizzly bats

By Mike Bush | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Shoulder season

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A8

Local anglers win FPTC

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

 
Free passes haunt Golden Sierra girls

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A8

 
Roundup: Mar. 31, 2015

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9

.

Prospecting

A native way of life

By Tripp Mikich | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
At a glance: Total lunacy

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Mr. Ponderosa contestants are winners

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Pierre Bonnard exhibition features 60 works

By Fine Arts | From Page: B3

Senior peer counseling available

By News Release | From Page: B3

 
The Healing All Together program needs volunteers

By Snowline Hospice Thrift Stores | From Page: B3

Savor the arts during April events

By Yountville Chamber Of Commerce | From Page: B3

 
Spring trains ready to roll at Western Railway Museum

By Western Railway | From Page: B4

New excutive director at arts alliance

By Sacramento Philharmonic | From Page: B4

 
Temple Kol Shalom to have Passover Seder

By Temple Kol Shalom | From Page: B8

.

Essentials

Building permits March 16-20

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: Feb. 27-28

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Barbara Louise Thomsen

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A11

Horoscope, Thursday, April 2, 2015

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Horoscope, Wednesday, April 1, 2015

By Contributor | From Page: A11

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A11

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A11

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Long Story Short

By Contributor | From Page: A11

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A11