The amphibians have been devastated by pollution, pesticides and the chytrid fungus.
The mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) and the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) devastated by the chytrid fungus and a dwindling population in California, have been added to the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus) is now listed as threatened. The wildlife service issued its ruling April 25. The listing also calls for the protection of more than 1.8 million acres of land in which the frog is known to inhabit. The ruling takes effect June 30.
The populations of these frogs have been adversely impacted by the introduction of non-native trout to the streams and bodies of water the frogs are known to inhabit, the chytrid fungus, pollution, pesticide poisoning, and catastrophic natural events.
There had been some pushback against listing these amphibians as endangered by area politicians, including California state Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, (R) O’Neals, a cattle rancher and farmer said in a statement released to the media:
“As a fourth generation family rancher and farmer, I know firsthand that Californians affected by the federal government’s decision have a deep respect for the environment they live in. Unfortunately, this decision prioritizes the needs of frogs over people. It will harm the livelihoods of rural Californians by altering their way of life and possibly driving them off their land at a time when so many are struggling to survive.
“Though the federal government has already made its decision on the endangered species designations, it hasn’t made a final ruling on designating which areas would be largely off limits to human activity. That ruling isn’t expected until next year and I hope our representatives at the federal level will do everything they can to ensure that the economic needs of rural Californians are taken into account.”
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The mountain yellow-legged frog is around three inches in length and lives in high elevation lakes, ponds, streams, and pools of water in California. It hibernates in the winter months. The frog lays eggs in the spring and the tadpoles arrive approximately two months later and remain as tadpoles throughout the summer, winter, and following spring. They then start to metamorphose into frogs the following summer and fall. As adults, they can live 10-15 years.
The Yosemite toad is threatened by livestock grazing, pesticides, and climate change. It can be found in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. Its range includes the the montane forests of El Dorado County south to Fresno County. They are found in high elevations ranging from 6,200 to 11,300 feet and can live 15-20 years.