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Proposal to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada

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Proposal to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada

Postby gary c. » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:07 am

I copied this from a post on the Rock creek Site. I don't remember seeing anything here about it.

URGENT - WE NEED YOUR HELP & COMMENTS NOW - URGENT

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to list the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the northern distinct population segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog as endangered and the Yosemite toad as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also proposing to designate critical habitat for these three amphibian species in California. Primary threats to the various species identified include habitat destruction, recreation (including trout stocking), dams and reservoir diversion, livestock use (grazing), packstock use, roads, timber harvest, fire management activities, disease, climate change, and pollution. With overlapping areas, the total proposed critical habitat for the three amphibians is 1,831,820 acres. In Inyo County areas proposed for habitat designation include Rock Creek Lake, Mt. Tom, the Bishop Creek drainage (including South Lake), Coyote Flat, the Big Pine Creek drainage, and Onion Valley. Additional critical habitat is proposed adjacent to Inyo County over the crest of the Sierra Nevada and in Mono County. The critical habitat designations have the potential to devastate the County’s economy and restrict access to important recreation areas. The listing of the species will add additional permitting burdens, and may further restrict access to public lands.

Please go to http://inyoplanning.org/projects/USFW_Y ... edFrog.htm - under "ADDITIONAL INFORMATION" you'll find "SUBMITTAL OF COMMENTS" - and submit your comments under both proposals. Your comments need to be made prior to June 24, 2013 at 9:00pm.

PLEASE COMMENT AND SHARE - GET THE WORD OUT!
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Proposal to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:11 am

the MYLF is already listed in CA ESA: http://anuranblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/ ... isted.html
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Re: Proposal to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada

Postby gary c. » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:44 pm

It's not the issue of species listing so much as habitat designation. It could result in a lot of land and access restrictions.
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Re: Proposal to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada

Postby rlown » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:44 pm

and it will. If it's an endangered species, it wins. If you want to battle over which lakes now belong to the frogs, that's a tough road. they all do.
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Yellow Legged Frog and Inyo County

Postby cthenn » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:39 pm

So I got a disturbing email today from one of the High Sierra resorts I've stayed at in the past, in regards to the USF&WS' plan to add a few frogs to the endangered species list. Apparently the plan to add these frogs to the list could lead to limiting access to these areas, and the elimination of fish stocking in several high sierra lakes, including Rock Creek Lake and South Lake. Also, this could eliminate certain recreational and other uses such as cattle grazing, and packing. Now, mind you, I'm not a big fan of the pack trains the come through when I'm hiking, and I'm not a fisherman, but with recreational freedoms severely limited or curtailed, this could only spell doom for many of these historic high sierra resorts. And plus, knowing how the overreaching government works, I'm much more concerned about the possibilities of further restricting access by foot, including backpacking and day hiking. Since the government never does what seems logical, I would bet that this listing will go through, causing irreparable harm to Inyo and surrounding counties, and could eventually lead to limiting backcountry access.

For anyone who wants to read more, here are several links:

Inyo County Planning Dept
http://www.inyoplanning.org/projects/US ... edFrog.htm

Also in this link are two links to add public comment to USFWS.

News article on the subject:
http://thesheetnews.com/2013/06/07/inyo ... e-economy/

If you REALLy want to delve into it, here's the USFWS report:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-04 ... -09600.pdf
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Re: Yellow Legged Frog and Inyo County

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:50 am

I have zero problem with any of this. The survival of wildlife populations is way more important than grazing or packer access to any given area. And while I understand why a resort would try to defend what they see as their material interests, I certainly don't agree with their position.
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Re: Yellow Legged Frog and Inyo County

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:31 am

The problem I have with all this is that a "static" regulation/designation is being applied to a moving target. Climate change with its associated vegetation and weather related water problems is largely driving much of the habitat loss. It is not clear if the habitat loss will happen over the long term anyway, regardless of the recreational restrictions. Also, they are not just talking about Inyo Forest, but the entire Sierra on both sides of the divide.

In the past, some extreme environmental groups have used technicalities of the endangered species act to stop ALL human activities, with the goal of shutting down the entire wilderness area to use. I am not condemning all environmental groups but there is that element out there.

The Forest Service's mandate is multiple use and I hope that they can maintain a balance in all this. I would not be alarmist yet at this point. Like one of the articles said, the Fish and Wildlife Service do not make regulation, they just designate habitat. The local economy does have to be considered, but I do not feel that each and every packer's livlihood necessarily should be absolutely preserved, just as not every backpacker's access should necessarily be preserved. Creative packer's can figure out how to still generate business. If you are talking about no fish in a few lakes, that is different from large scale elimination of fishing in the wilderness. Let's hope common sense prevails.
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Re: Yellow Legged Frog and Inyo County

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:40 am

The Inyo Planning links to a large file apparently with a tiny packet pipe so was futile trying to download their map. But did poke around a bit on the very long tedious though thorough USFWS report.

We already know the attitude of many of those making decisions, their experts, and judicial courts in their pockets, because this has been a long ongoing much discussed controversy. There are those who if they had their way would zap trout from every lake and stream in the Sierra Nevada where they were not native which is almost all except at lowest elevations. And in the beginning that is exactly where they were moving until forces rose up against them. They blamed trout and then over years a list of other significant elements in the demise of the frogs like the fungus problem became known but have never let go of their obvious dislike for trout in the High Country.

The tone in the report reads like a setup to use their positions to get their way despite inevitable criticism from sectors of the public. If they are interested in a continued balanced approach most of us will support their plans. However if they make sweeping inhibitions to the status quo then such policies are certain to be unpopular. In the beginning the YLF researchers had reports that read like all frogs at high elevations were in demise as they conveniently for their purpose left out the fact their were lots of Pacifc tree frogs everywhere including many of the waters where trout supposedly were decimating frog populations. And then they had to explain off the fact there are myriad shallow ponds where tons of frogs live by claiming the YLF only live in deeper lakes, a suspect fact. So from the beginning there has been a lack trust over unbiased data from researchers.

Another issue I've never seen addressed is that I suspect the trout species that primarily eats frogs are eastern brook trout. Especially waters where there are an over populated abundance of big headed stunts. Those are the trout one often sees swimming at lake edges in extremely shallow water weed areas that tadpoles like because they are warmer. Frankly I would not have a problem with the DF&G removing stunted brook trout from such waters as they are a decades old plague that mainly just make packer clients happy.
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Re: Yellow Legged Frog and Inyo County

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:31 am

Admin,

Can we merge this thread with the other thread on the same topic?

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9465
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Re: Yellow Legged Frog and Inyo County

Postby John Dittli » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:21 pm

Oh my goodness yes, the sky is falling once again over here in Mono and Inyo counties! "Say goodbye to accessing public lands! The summer economy will be ruined!" etc, etc. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that over here I'd have, well, a pocket of nickels. Inyo was opposed to the Desert Protection act, the expansion of Death Valley National Park, the White Mountain Wilderness etc, all of which have added to the eastside economy, not hindered it.

The Critical Habitat overlay, as I understand it, is just that, an overlay. There are no specific policies attached, just general guidelines of what might be needed. Actual actions are up to the individual agencies. Is Cal Fish and Wildlife likely to pull all the fish out of the big lake/reservoirs that the resorts ie. fishing economy, rely on? Not likely unless those same lakes are absolutely vital to MYF recovery.

Is the Forest Service and Park Service going to restrict access? If the current recovery efforts aren't successful, possibly to a few places. My guess is both agencies will continue with their existing recovery plans of removing trout and reintroducing frogs in select locations.

In any case, there is quite a lot of hyperbol going on over here and on the Net right now. The MYF has been listed, now it's time to see what we all might have to do for it to survive.
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Re: Proposal to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada

Postby copeg » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:50 pm

I've merged together these 2 threads to keep the discussion in one location.
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Re: Proposal to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada

Postby Snowtrout » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:55 pm

My question is: what polices or restrictions will be put in place if this is adopted? So far all I have heard is speculation and I would like to hear specific details. Getting tired of the "we will figure it out later" attitude of the government lately.
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