Friday, August 29, 2014

Oregon spotted frog will be protected

Twenty-three years after it was first proposed for protection by the Endangered Species Act, the Oregon spotted frog is being listed as a threatened species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to publish its decision today in the Federal Register. It takes effect 30 days later. The frog was first proposed for Endangered Species Act protection in 1991. Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity said it is one of the many species that became mired in a backlog caused by political opposition to species protection and a lack of funding, until a settlement with the Obama administration put it on a timetable for consideration for listing. The frog measures about 2 to 4 inches long, and it is marked by dark spots. The males make a call like a distant woodpecker tapping on a tree. Habitat for the frog has been lost to urban and agricultural development, livestock grazing, the removal of beavers and the encroachment of non-native grasses, the agency said. Non-native fish and bullfrogs have eaten them. A proposal for protecting critical habitat is not expected until the fall, so it is hard to gauge how much conflict with future development and grazing the listing might create, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Ann Froschauer said in an email. On the Fremont-Winema National Forest in southern Oregon, a rancher has been told to remove his cattle from a grazing allotment because his stock were straying behind fencing meant to protect frog habitat...more

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