Yellow-legged frog fantasy
Under threat of a lawsuit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reached an agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity April 24 to propose the Sierra yellow-legged and Yosemite toad for Endangered Species Act listing. Also proposed is protecting more than 2 million acres of habitat in the Sierra Nevada.
May 13 Tony Valdes, forest resources staff officer for the Eldorado National Forest told the Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County that the USFWS action required the Forest Service to consult with the Wildlife Service while working on its forest plans regarding the frogs and toads.
A press release from the Center for Biological Diversity stated the following: “Yellow-legged frogs throughout the Sierra Nevada have suffered dramatic declines in range and numbers due to habitat destruction and degradation, disease, predation by nonnative trout, pesticides and climate change.”
It also added, “Yosemite toads are threatened primarily by livestock grazing, climate change and pesticides.”
Gosh, they forgot the hole in the ozone.
Basically the center threw in the whole kitchen sink of causes for toady’s decline. We doubt any of these have any research-supported factual basis. It’s just environmentalist boiler plate, especially blaming “global warming.” Yes, they always blame global warming. If there really is global warming and it’s frying frogs, then there isn’t a thing we can do about it and it’s time to stop wasting time and resources on saving the unsavable. But, wait, there hasn’t been any global warming for the last 15 years. The temperatures as measured by satellite have been essentially flat, according to Dr. Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
The state Department of Fish & Game poisoned the Sierra lakes to kill off the trout that had been planted. The only remaining threat to the yellow-legged frogs is fungus. San Francisco State University Professor Vance Vredenburg published a research paper in 2008 that the yellow-legged frogs were dying of a fungal infection in the lakes.
Then a year ago Natalie Reeder, who received her master’s degree in 2010, worked with Vredenburg and made the key finding that the fungus disease was being carried upstream by the migration of the common Pacific chorus frog.
“We found that the vast majority of Pacific chorus frogs don’t die or show symptoms even with surprisingly high levels of infection,” said Reeder. “They are able to go about life as normal, moving over land and carrying the disease to new locations.”
Any foothills resident opening a window on an early summer evening can hear the loud noise of hundreds of Pacific chorus frogs.
“The Pacific chorus frog is a perfect host for chrytid (fungal disease), allowing the disease to leapfrog to the next pond over. The findings help explain the pattern and speed of the chrytid epidemic in the Sierra,” Vredenburg said.
“Because it is a water-borne fungus, scientists assumed it would spread downstream through rivers and lakes. But in the Sierra Nevada, the epidemic moved uphill,” stated the March 2012 press release from SFSU.
The Pacific chorus frog is found all over the Pacific Coast from Baja to British Coloumbia. It has sticky feet and can climb trees and survive longer periods out of water. It is the Typhoid Mary of frogs.
The rest of the reasons for the Sierra yellow-legged frog’s decline touted by the Center for Biological Diversity are pure fantasy. On the basis of fantasy the Wildlife Service has proposed to designate 1.1 million acres as “critical habitat” in Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Alpine, Mariposa, Mono, Madera, Tuolumne, Fresno and Inyo counties, plus 221,500 acres in Fresno and Tulare counties.
That is an exercise in futility. The fungus disease has shrunken the Sierra yellow-legged frog to 5 percent of its former range.
A better bet is funding more research by San Francisco State