Tuesday, August 01, 2017

1.8 million California acres were set aside for frogs. Ranchers say decision ignores them

Tiny frogs and toads used to swarm over the Sierra Nevada. Now, the government says nearly 2 million acres of land needs to be preserved to prevent them from going extinct. California ranchers and logging groups say those protections are hurting their ability to make a living. So another conflict over the Endangered Species Act is going to court. The California Farm Bureau and two ranchers’ associations sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday, challenging a year-old decision to designate more than 1.8 million acres of rural California as “critical habitat” for three species of frogs and toads that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Loggers and ranchers who harvest timber or graze cattle on public lands worry the new restrictions on land use will eventually make it more difficult – if not impossible – to make a living in the Sierra, said Shaun Crook, a Tuolumne County cattle rancher whose family also owns a logging company. “It has the economic impact of putting you out of business is what that reality could be,” said Crook, president of the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau. Even though the designation was made a year ago, Crook said federal officials haven’t yet told him how the protections will affect his cattle, which graze on federal lands. But he said he and other ranchers worry that major tracts of land will be put off limits or they’ll be required to install fencing around protected areas. The case affects a wide swath of the Sierra Nevada region, from Lassen to Inyo counties. It includes portions of Placer and El Dorado counties. Most of the land is owned by the government and is in designated wilderness areas, where the “highest level of conservation protection” on federal land is required, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. The critical habitat designation subjects farmers “to substantial regulatory burdens that impose, among other things, study costs, risk assessments, mitigation fees, operational changes, permit fees, and consulting expenses,” said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. “In some cases, these burdens put the rancher’s livelihood at risk.” The farm groups are represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a Sacramento nonprofit that fights for conservative and property-rights causes. At issue is the fate of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and mountain yellow-legged frog, named for the yellow on the undersides of their legs and abdomens. The third species is the Yosemite toad, named for the national park where it was first discovered...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Look on google earth timeline at Placer & El Dorado counties to see the 'more environmentally-friendly' urban sprawl that's taken over habitat that once was rangeland and oak woodlands.

In fact, high-density development has exploded lately all over No. Calif., in areas where there are frogs.

The greenies blame ag for 'climate change' and the increase of global warming and GHG's.

But, how can agriculture be responsible for increasing these enviro-climate issues, when ag land has been decreasing at a rate of 40 acres a day?

How many California acres are now under concrete & asphalt, which absorb and radiate temperatures as much as 60 degrees hotter than ag land?

For every acre of pavement, 27,000 gallons of ground water is lost per inch of rain because it goes right to the gutters, to the river and then to the ocean.

So, what prevents us from publically counter-pointing the flawed logic of the enviros?

--It's not like we're in Gloria Navarro's courtroom and not allowed to present our case for ag.

Yet, we sit and say nothing while agriculture is on trial, expecting the uninformed and misinformed to understand us, when all they hear is the unchallenged arguments of the enviros.