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Partnerships gain strength in Chiricahua Leopard Frog Conservation and Recovery on the Tonto National Forest, Arizona.
Southwest Region, January 8, 2008
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 A meeting was held on January 8, 2008, at the Pleasant Valley Ranger District Office in Young, Arizona between representatives of the Tonto National Forest, the USFWS, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and numerous regional grazing permittees to discuss conservation and recovery activities for the Chiricahua leopard frog (Rana chiricahuensis) within the Gentry Creek Conservation and Management Zone (CMZ).  This meeting was the first of its kind in the area to include collaborative discussion with a multitude of grazing permittees.  During the meeting, we discussed 1) recovery and conservation projects that have been completed in the area over the last couple years; 2) the status of the frogs in the area; 3) recovery goals for Recovery Unit 5; and, 4) possible future efforts to obtain those goals.  Agency representatives provided every opportunity to the ranching community to discuss potential, perceived conflicts with frog recovery and listened to their concerns and answered their questions.  Agency personnel discussed the most important factors in frog recovery in the area and assurred the grazing community that recovery of the frog and livestock grazing can easily co-occur.  By the end of the meeting, many myths were dispelled, many ranchers were educated about frog recovery and section 7 consultation, and most importantly, every rancher was very pleased with our effort to reach out to them for inclusion and assistence in the recovery of the frog and was excited for frogs to be reintroduced on their allotments.  All the ranchers offered ideas on how to create or improve habitat on their allotments as well as provided suggestions for waters to survey for reindroduction purposes.

Recovery of the Chiricahua leopard frog in the Gentry CMZ is continuing to prove to be a positive and successful venture in conservation partnerships.  While there remains only four reproducing populations in the CMZ, the species now occurs in eight locations, three of which were recently naturally recolonized by dispersing adults, some into newly constructed habitat.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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