Friday, August 29, 2014
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 cdaley@mtdemocrat.net. 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

Supreme Court denies Nutting

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Heard over the back fence: Chamber of Commerce tee time

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Sand Fire Benefit one big success

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

 
Camp 2 Bridge deconstructed

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bigelow’s AB 2073 signed into law

By Kirk Kimmelshue | From Page: A3

Acupuncture clinic aims to serve community

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Scholarship available for local forestry students

By News Release | From Page: A4

Mayors to meet for virtual handshake

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Farmn Bureau endorses Pratt for Dist. 2

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A9

 
Labor Day closures

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

Burke’s Corner: August 29, 2014

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A10

 
SLT Mental Health Clinic moving

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: A little potpourri for a change

By Chris Daley | From Page: A6

 
Billingsley’s Bullets: Upbeat is always better

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A6

Keep Kaser in prison

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A6

 
.

Letters

Letter to original Miwoks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Four days negates five years

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

Amaral for Supervisor

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Two letters’ reply

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

Small farms

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Tabloid headline

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Gridiron season kicks off tonight

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

 
Tribute to Donnie Tilford

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Heinz-sight: It’s here …

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A11

 
2014 Ponderosa football roster

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A11

Bruins happy to be back in D-II

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

Harris Center presents great performances

By Roberta Long | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sample everything that is good

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2

Things to do: Aug. 29, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Things get spicy in EDH

By Julie Samrick | From Page: B3

Award-winning rosarian gives tips

By Mother Lode Rose Society | From Page: B3

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: Aug. 12-15

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Peggy L. King

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Rodney H. Johnson

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Gertrude “Dede” Elaine Wilkinson

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Wilma Martin Klein

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Donald E. Doyle

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

Too much information

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

 
When life changes hit home, don’t fear

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS6

Housing affordability declines statewide

Press Release | From Page: HS7

 
Building permits, housing on the rise

Press Release | From Page: HS15

.

Comics

.

Home Source

Too much information

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

When life changes hit home, don’t fear

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS6

Housing affordability declines statewide

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Building permits, housing on the rise

Press Release | From Page: HS15