A sad day is approaching for those who love to visit the Emigrant Wilderness of the Stanislaus National Forest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a proposed rule up for discussion. They propose the (Mountain) yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad be placed on the endangered and threatened species lists, respectively.
The result of these listings would be the closure of the areas designated as critical habitat for these animals. When the maps of the habitats of these two amphibians are viewed together, they encompass about 90 percent of the Emigrant Wilderness.
The studies cited by the Fish and Wildlife Service suggest that the populations of the (Mountain) yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad were diminishing due to a number of circumstances. Some of these are: predatory fish (most likely cause, and reversible), fungus, climate change, pesticides, fire retardant, PCB's (Polychlorinated biphenyl), bullfrogs, Garter snakes, UV-B radiation, cattle on stream banks, birds, evolution, drought, chemicals in snow melt, and disease.
In the 26 pages of reference material provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service, there is no scientific evidence the recreational use of the habitat areas has contributed to the decline in the populations of the (Mountain) yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad.
I urge you to fight this proposed rule. The Fish and Wildlife Service will be hearing arguments on this subject until November 18, 2013.
If this rule passes, it will go in effect in April 2014. The proposal and habitat maps are located at www.regulations.gov Docket Numbers FWS-R8-ES-2012-0100-0557 and FWS-R8-ES-2012-0074-0554.
Gail Jamieson, Patterson resident
Gail Jamieson is a Horseback trail rider and hiker, Member of Backcountry Horsemen of California Mid-Valley Unit and Associate member of the Los Padres Unit.