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Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby rlown » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:42 pm

giantbrookie wrote:
All kidding aside, these are relatively small frogs with rather scrawny hindlegs, so unfortunately we won't be getting a viable protein replacement for our trout. As for the merits of trout versus YLF, this has been discussed on multiple threads. The Seki EIR foretold the Amphitheater operation and I was pretty sad when I read that the basin was in the cross hairs from the draft stage of the EIR. I too have fond memories of Amphitheater. I was there in 1993 and whereas the fish weren't huge (best went 13", although I saw a fish that looked in the 15" range in the outlet stream) having decent fish in what to me is one of the most gorgeous lakes of the High Sierra was a terrific combo. I never got up to fish the upper lakes but I had heard great things about them from others (at an amazing random meet up at a trailless lunker lake in Seki in 1996) and had resolved to go check them out the next time I headed for the Amphitheater-Dumbbells area. When I found out about the plans to remove the fish from the basin, my route plans for my eventual (I hope) return to this area changed.

Anyhow I am hoping the frog reintroduction is a success and the frogs make a comeback because the more precarious the YLF survival is, the more lakes they will eliminate fish in.


The only issue to your statement about success is If they are successful in a few places, they'll push to remove other fish for frogs in other basins.



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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby balance » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:47 pm

It makes me happy to hear frogs croaking at a stream, lake or wetlands. :)
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:38 am

I am not a biologist, but never understood why frogs and fish cannot coexist. Are the frogs really that bad at jumping out of the way of fish? Or is the problem tadpoles and eggs? It would seem that frogs could be in wetlands, surrounding lakes, and the lakes themselves still have fish. Why not restore the frogs in lakes were there are no fish to begin with?

When I camp near a "frog lake" I put in my earplugs! That croaking keeps me awake. But yes, frogs are fun. I remember catching frogs as a kid - they were everywhere. I also remember when bees were everywhere. The decline of frogs and bees is a lot more complicated than just having fish in lakes.
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby balzaccom » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:46 pm

According to a biologist I met up at Merced Pass Lake, the trout eat both the tadpoles and the frogs, And in lakes where frogs are native and trout are not, the decrease in frog population has been precipitous.....
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby rlown » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:00 pm

nice. no discussion on Chytrid? They have enough lakes to experiment with. Don't touch others until they know the reason.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chytridiomycosis

We're starting to repeat ourselves on the topic..
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:34 am

Russ,

I mentioned the original article addressing the Chytrid disease. In fact, they said it wiped out 90% of the species, but then tried to imply "non-native predators" somehow affected the population. Isn't there a phrase used to describe this kind of reporting? :p

Vaca Russ wrote:
maverick wrote:SEKI NP:
Mountain yellow-legged frogs are threatened by non-native predators and disease (chytridiomycosis), which is caused by amphibian chytrid fungus and is responsible for the decline or extinction of more than 200 amphibian species worldwide.

“Our collaboration with biologists and several government agencies has given us the opportunity to inoculate these frogs against the deadly disease that has already wiped out 90% of this species in the wild,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.


The frogs are threatened by "non-native predators"? Hmmm.

But..."the deadly disease that has already wiped out 90% of this species".

So which one is wiping out the frogs? It looks like one thing "threatens" the frogs and the other "wipes them out".

JMHO,

-Russ
"...Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?"

Kahil Gibran.
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby longri » Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:24 pm

I ran across a paper (news article) the other day about the yellow-legged frog in Yosemite N.P. They've recovered in recent years, apparently due to the combination of evolving a reduced susceptibility to the Chytrid fungus and the natural reduction in lakes containing fish in the post-stocking era that we now live in. Nonetheless, the authors conclude that, "recovery of R. sierrae in Yosemite is far from complete and at a minimum, will require the continued removal of introduced fish from key habitats and trans-location of frogs to reestablish populations in areas from which they are extirpated."

I know that sentence sounds bad to Sierra fisherman. I suspect most of them see a slippery slope. And, with some justification, can point to the numerous times in human history where well-meaning groups have meddled with the environment and had things go awry.

I rarely fish and I'm a frog lover so my biases are pretty close to 180° out of phase with most of the biases on display in this thread. But although I appreciate the efforts to save a threatened species I've had mixed feelings about the removal of non-native fish from lakes ever since I first encountered it in Sixty Lakes Basin some years ago. I've talked to some of the biologists both then and later, when I happened to run into them in the backcountry. And I've talked to plenty of fisherman about it too. They're pretty easy to find.

It's understandably an issue that generates controversy. I like to think it can work out without extreme measures. A Sierra devoid of frogs would make me very sad. A Sierra devoid of fish would seem wrong to me too. I know they are non-native, but to me they are a key part of the Sierra -- now. Some balance needs to be found. I hope it is found.
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby Jimr » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:17 pm

Absolutely longri. What often gets lost is balance. To me, a nice balance would be to eradicate the high lakes of Eastern Brookies and re-introduce half of them with native Golden for the higher lakes and native Rainbow for the lower. Some with both. Leave the balance, particularly non-self-sustaining systems, fishless. At least, it's a good start in trying to create a balance.
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby gdurkee » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:23 pm

Froggies! How fun. It's been a couple of years since I've contributed my compelling and keen observations on them. I'll just throw in a few points 'cause, as has been commented on, there's a zillion threads here on the subject. Still, looks like some new folks here. So:

* The Yellow Legged Frog doesn't go 'ribbet'. It's rare to hear one and, if you do, it's a high pitched squeak. Endangered and listed. Required by law to be protected. The ones that go 'ribbet' are the Pacific Chorus Frog, formerly the Pacific Tree Frog. Tiny, but loud. Black eyestripe and about the size of your thumb. Not at all endangered.

* Fish were not native to ANY high Sierra lake above about 8,500 feet. When the glaciers came through, if there were any, they were wiped out and couldn't make it beyond waterfalls and steep cascade barriers. All fish now in the High Sierra were introduced starting in about the 1890s by packers and, much later, by California Fish and Game.

* One of the primary purposes of National Parks is to protect and preserve native critters and plants and their ecosystems. Froggies are native, fish in the High Sierra aren't.

* That said, the fish will continue to thrive in the majority (!) of High Sierra Lakes. There's really only a few basins suitable for fish removal and restoration of yellow legged frogs. The idea is not to restore an isolated lake here or there, but a basin such that populations can intermingle, moving from lake to lake.In my experience (and, granted, I've been gone from Sequoia for 4 years) few of the lakes slated for fish removal had decent fishing. Most averaged probably less that 10" and were overcrowded because of limited spawning areas and finite food supply. Only a few basins meet the criteria for restoration (one of the primary ones is having some sort of barrier like a waterfall to keep the fish from coming back and, at the same time, be suitable habitat for frogs).

* I'm always confused at the "ah ha! We've got you now" reaction to the relationship of Chytrid and fish to frog mortality. The reaction seems to be that if one is true, the other can't be, which is wrong. Both contribute. The original problem (up to the 90s) was fish. The yellow legged frog (and, incidentally, I'm using old nomenclature. There's now three species. The dividing line of two is Mather Pass) never evolved with fish and so have no survival defenses. When threatened, they jump into the water where, if there's fish, they're eaten. Incidentally, the great memories of my youth hiking in the 60s is going along almost any lake margin with hundreds of frogs leaping into the water ahead of me. After about 1990, that was rare. They were gone from probably 80%+ of their former range. About that time (90s) the danger was recognized by biologists (notably Vance Vreedenburg, then a PhD student at Berkeley) who fairly quickly identified fish as the problem. Working in 60 Lakes Basin, he and his crew ran a net down the middle of the first lake you come to entering the basin. They netted all the fish on one side, not on the other. Within a week or two, frogs were back in the non-fish side and doing quite well. An elegant and compelling demonstration.

The need for populations throughout a basin are critical. If something hits one lake, migration is always occurring and froggies colonize from another. If there's only one lake left with frogs, they're in trouble. That's exactly what happened throughout the Sierra. Most basins were down to one lake where fish, for one reason or another, didn't occur.

* The NPS authorized continuing the experiment throughout that basin and Yosemite started doing the same. It was spectacularly successful. The frogs were saved! Yay!

* But, bad news, at the very same time (late 90s) Chytrid was appearing on the west slope of the Sierra and moving up several hundred vertical each year. It has already probably extirpated most foothill populations of the red legged frog and, within a few years, was killing alpine populations of the YLF.

* So, the next problem became what to do about Chytrid. Meanwhile, the NPS continued with their restoration program in the easy basins while, worldwide, biologists began working frantically on Chytrid. It was/is wiping out frogs everywhere. In Sequoia Kings, I think every surviving YLF population occurs where fish had been netted and frogs restored. A bunch of different methods are being tried: breeding resistant frogs in labs, then taking them to the Sierra; inoculating them in lakes; coating them with various chemical to kill the chytrid.... & etc. (I don't keep up as well as I should). They are having some success. As pointed out, some populations have developed at least partial immunity but (!) this can only occur when you have a critical population number such that you can get immunity in a significant percentage to form a breeding group and survive AND if their habitat is spread throughout a basin to take advantage of dispersal.

But, really, what this comes down to is what importance people put on having a place on the earth that attempts, however imperfectly, to maintain ecosystems as they have existed for tens of thousands of years vs. fully protecting a non-native species who, in addition to eating frogs also take out huge number of insects with major effects on lake and stream ecosystems. Some early studies show a return of a number of birds because of the rebounding insect populations once fish disappear.

This ongoing effort is also an incredible example of what happens when the results of field science discoveries are applied to mitigate the loss of a species. We've seen this in spectacular recovery efforts off Bald Eagles, Peregrine falcons and Brown Pelicans with removal of DDT from the food chain. Condors, too, have been brought back from the brink of extinction with an aggressive and science based breeding and rearing program. Bighorn sheep, too, are showing great improvement in range and population as a result of protection efforts. This is all to say that there are great examples that "letting nature take it's course" are wrong when an effort is made on behalf of the endangered critter.

Thank you all for coming. You've been terrific and attentive!

George
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Postby rlown » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:01 pm

Okay. Frogs raised in a lab or treated and transferred to a basin they never inhabited before isn't right either. Non-native.
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