Friday, October 24, 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

Kinkade’s hometown gallery closing

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
EID: Water saving gets personal

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

Camino shooting suspect sketched

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Winkler convicted of first-degree murder

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Purple petition qualifies for 2016 ballot

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A6

 
Round and round … and round

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A7

Water rights pursuit on the bubble

By Chris Daley | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

 
My turn: Hangtown Ball = economic development

By Mike Roberts | From Page: A4

No to Prop. 47

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Yes on N? Why?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Placerville can’t afford Measure K

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

What’s best for Cameron Park

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
I am voting yes on Measure M

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

4th District supervisor election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Technical education and EHUSD board candidates

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Cougars split with McClatchy

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9

 
Area produces two girl’s champions

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9

Bruin boys clinch share of title

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Cougars face ‘Unique’ test

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9

El Dorado teams sweep SVC crowns

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9

 
Roundup: Oct. 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

.

Prospecting

Hangtown Halloween Ball hits its stride

By Mike Roberts | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Craven keeps Hangtown Ball bouncing

By Mike Roberts | From Page: B2

Hangtown Ball details

By Mike Roberts | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Things to do: Oct. 24, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Tahoe ‘Barton baby’ keeps the dream alive

By Mike Roberts | From Page: B2

 
Metal Dragonfly lands at Green Acres

By Green Acres Farmers Market | From Page: B4

Creepy time at Sutter’s Fort

By Sutter's Fort | From Page: B4

 
Free safety and self defense class

By Robinson's Taekwando | From Page: B6

Paint a glass at Sierra Vista

By Sierra Vista Winery | From Page: B6

 
Time to enter contests

By Green Acres Farmers Market | From Page: B6

Ride the ‘Spookomotive’ trains in Sac

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B7

 
Dedication for Pearl Place Art Wall

By News Release | From Page: B13

Harvest Festival is fun for all

By Gold Oak Elementary School | From Page: B13

 
Androcles and the Lion comes to Harris Center

By Harris Center for the Arts | From Page: B13

.

Essentials

Lake levels 10-23-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: Oct. 13-14

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Correction

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Robert Raiman “Bob” Koestoer

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Eleanor Martin

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Donna Lee Owings Gray

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Joan McKain

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

Design team promotes ‘gilt by association’

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

 
Existing home sales rebound in September

Press Release | From Page: HS4

‘Mister Mc Lister’ joins Vindler

Press Release | From Page: HS6

 
Estate-sized Jacksonville both stately and sunny

Press Release | From Page: HS10

CAR convenes state’s first real estate summit

Press Release | From Page: HS14

 
.

Comics

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A11

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Long Story Short

By Contributor | From Page: A11

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A11

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A11

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A12

Horoscope, Sunday, October 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A12

 
Horoscope, Saturday, October 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A12

Horoscope, Friday, October 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A12

 
.

Home Source

Design team promotes ‘gilt by association’

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Existing home sales rebound in September

Press Release | From Page: HS4

‘Mister Mc Lister’ joins Vindler

Press Release | From Page: HS6

Estate-sized Jacksonville both stately and sunny

Press Release | From Page: HS10

CAR convenes state’s first real estate summit

Press Release | From Page: HS14