Target: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe
Goal: Ensure the survival of several rare amphibians residing in the Sierra Nevada
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently granted Endangered Species Act protections to Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, Yosemite toads, and a population of mountain yellow-legged frogs inhabiting the Sierra Nevada. The protections result from a 2011 agreement between the Center for Biological Diversity and the Wildlife Service to hasten endangered species protection decisions for over seven hundred threatened animals and plants throughout the United States. Thank the Service for providing federal protection for these species and urge them to swiftly make critical habitat designations in the near future.
Yellow-legged frogs throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range have suffered dramatic population declines due to habitat destruction, disease, pesticides, and climate change. Yosemite toads have also suffered massive population losses, including in Yosemite National Park, where they were first discovered. They are threatened primarily by livestock grazing, climate change, and pesticides. In recent years, both species have disappeared from many of the areas they once lived.
The amphibians protected have been waiting more than a decade for help. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Pacific Rivers Council petitioned to protect the Yosemite toad in 2000, and the Wildlife Service added it to the candidate list two years later. The Center petitioned to save the yellow-legged frog in 2000 and had to submit a lawsuit before the Service added them to the candidate list in 2003.
The Endangered Species Act has a nearly perfect record of stopping animals from going extinct. The frogs and toads will benefit from greater emphasis on protecting their habitats and development of a recovery plan. Urge the Wildlife Service to quickly designate critical habitats so that recovery efforts can commence.
Dear Director Ashe,
Thank you for granting Endangered Species Act protections to Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, Yosemite toads, and a population of mountain yellow-legged frogs inhabiting the Sierra Nevada. With the new protections, conservations groups can do what is necessary to save these rare amphibians from massive population decline.
The Service has announced that it will be designating final critical habitat for the amphibians in the near future. In 2013, the agency proposed more than two million acres of critical habitat, which would greatly help recovery efforts.
Human activity has driven these species towards extinction, but we now have an opportunity to reverse the course. I urge you to act swiftly, to ensure the maximum amount of protection for these endangered species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Paul Maier via Wikimedia Commons