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Comments needed on yellow-legged frog proposal

June 20, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes turning several popular fishing, hiking and camping destinations in the Eastern Sierra into critical habitat for the yellow-legged frog. Such a move would add permitting burdens and possibly restrict access. Comments must be in by Monday at 9 p.m. and can be made at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2012-0074. FILE PHOTO

Residents of Inyo County are being asked to get their comments in on a proposed critical habitat designation in the Sierra.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to designate critical habitat for the yellow-legged frog, the Yosemite toad and the northern population segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog 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 USFWS is also 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.
The listing of the species will add additional permitting burdens, and may further restrict access to public lands.
Comments must be in by Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. Comments can be made online at http://www.inyoplanning.org/projects/USFW_YellowLeggedFrog.htm. Go to “Additional Information” and click on “Submittal of Comments” for both proposals. Comments can also be made at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2012-0074.

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