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NEVADA FWO: Nevada Partners Recognized For Conservation
California-Nevada Offices , September 5, 2012
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Dave Spicer (center left) receives the Service Citizen Award from Ken Mayer, Nevada Department of Wildlife director (left), Ted Koch, Service's Nevada state supervisor (center right) and Ren Lohoefener, Service Region 8 director.
Dave Spicer (center left) receives the Service Citizen Award from Ken Mayer, Nevada Department of Wildlife director (left), Ted Koch, Service's Nevada state supervisor (center right) and Ren Lohoefener, Service Region 8 director. - Photo Credit: J.Stafford/USFWS
Shirley Harlan is honored for her achievements to conserve the Amargosa toad. Pictured here with Ken Mayer, Nevada Department of Wildlife director.
Shirley Harlan is honored for her achievements to conserve the Amargosa toad. Pictured here with Ken Mayer, Nevada Department of Wildlife director. - Photo Credit: D. Nielsen/NDOW
Ed Ringle (center) is honored for his conservation efforts by Ken Mayer, Nevada Department of Wildlife director (left) and Ted Koch, Service's Nevada state supervisor (right)
Ed Ringle (center) is honored for his conservation efforts by Ken Mayer, Nevada Department of Wildlife director (left) and Ted Koch, Service's Nevada state supervisor (right) - Photo Credit: D. Nielsen/NDOW

By Jeannie Stafford, Public Affairs

On September 5, 2012, U. S. Fish and Wildlife (Service) Region 8 Director Ren Lohoefener, presented the Service Citizen’s Award to David Spicer for his contribution to the habitat restoration and conservation of the Amargosa toad. This national level award recognizes private citizens and organizations for their voluntary contributions to the mission and goals of the Service.

Other partners recognized for their contribution to the species conservation include: Shirley Harlan; Ed Ringle; Beatty Habitat Committee; Town of Beatty; The Nature Conservancy, Southern Nevada Office; Nevada Natural Heritage Program; Bureau of Land Management, Tonopah Field Office; Natural Resources Conservation Service, Las Vegas Service Center; Nye County; Amargosa Conservancy; and Saving Toads through Off-Road Racing, Ranching and Mining in the Oasis Valley (STORM-OV).

Joining Director Lohoefener to present certificates and plaques and honor the Nevada partners at Red Rock National Conservation Area, was Nevada Department of Wildlife Director Ken Mayer, Senator Reid’s representative Sara Moffat, Senator Heller’s representative Chauncy Chau-Duong, Congressman Joe Heck’s representative Brian Weaver, and the Service’s Nevada State Supervisor Ted Koch.

By partnering with federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, local government, fellow landowners, and acquiring grants, David Spicer and partners have restored 11 springs, enhanced one mile of river, and created or enhanced 57 acres of toad breeding and foraging habitat mostly on private land.

The Amargosa toad was first petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act in 1994 due to threats which included invasive species, habitat loss, vegetation encroachment and ground water pumping.

The Service was petitioned for listing a second time in 2008 and completed a 12-month review of the toad’s status in July 2010. The Service determined that the species did not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The Service was able to reach not warranted determination because of the coordinated conservation work by the local community, and agency partners. Their conservation efforts demonstrate that a community working together can help preclude the need to list a species.

A summary of our partner’s contributions to conservation of the Amargosa toad:

David Spicer
David Spicer’s leadership and dedication to the conservation of the Amargosa toad can be directly attributed to the Service’s not warranted decision on a petition to list the toad on July 20, 2010. Mr. Spicer has been instrumental in leading efforts which have improved Amargosa toad habitat, increased the Service’s knowledge of the species, and reduced the threats to the toad. He founded a non-profit organization, STORM-OV (Saving Toads Though Off-Road Racing, Ranching and Mining in the Oasis Valley), to implement conservation actions throughout the range of the toad. He has initiated and completed habitat improvement projects, providing labor, equipment and materials with the assistance of the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. David Spicer took the initiative to design and construct spring outflows to maintain functional toad habitat throughout Nevada’s dry, hot summers. He participated and contributed to the town of Beatty Master Plan which will continue to provide conservation for the toad. His passion for conservation of the Amargosa toad and community leadership brought together environmental organizations, off-road vehicle users, mining interests, ranchers, members of the Nevada business community not usually associated with species conservation, as well as the local community.

Shirley Harlan
As chair of the Beatty Habitat Committee, Shirley Harlan took on the Beatty Habitat and Trails Project and never gave up, even when funding and support declined. She introduced biologists to landowners in the early 1990s to begin the process of evaluating the status of the species and securing access to private properties for surveys. She has persisted through opposition over the ensuing two decades. Without her persistence, the Beatty Habitat Committee and Friends of the Amargosa Toad would have been distant memories. Shirley has landscaped her property to provide toad habitat, which has served as a source population of toads in the area.

Ed Ringle
As a major commercial property and business owner, Ed Ringle donated property to the TNC for toad conservation and partnered with TNC to complete toad habitat restoration projects on his property. Mr. Ringle is a conservation partner with TNC and the Service. Mr. Ringle and TNC continue to improve habitat along the river, which is part of the parcel donated to TNC for conservation purposes pursuant to prescribed conservation actions in the Conservation Agreement and Strategy.

Beatty Habitat Committee
The Beatty Habitat Committee was formed in 2000 as a local organization to protect habitat for the Amargosa toad. In 2001, the Committee and Beatty Town Board sponsored a multi-use workshop to discuss and resolve potential problems in the Amargosa River and Oasis Valley area. The Committee helped organize a Charette which served as one of the first landscape planning efforts with a goal to enhance economic development in Beatty and provide for conservation of the toad. The Governor of Nevada proclaimed the day of the Charette as a day in honor of the Beatty Habitat and Trails Project.

Town of Beatty
The Beatty Town Board formed the Beatty Habitat Committee in 2000 to begin planning for a trail system with conservation projects for the toad. The Beatty Town Board provides meeting facilities for the Amargosa Toad Working Group in Beatty, and funding for a pocket park and other projects.

Nye County
Nye County became involved with the Amargosa Toad Working Group in October 2000 by signing the Conservation Agreement for the Amargosa Toad, a multi-agency partnership. Nye County has provided support and funding for toad conservation efforts including the Beatty Habitat and Trails Project. The County has committed staff resources for the Amargosa Toad Working Group and coordinates county planning efforts with the group to avoid conflicts with the toad. They coordinate with NDOW and Service biologists on ways to control mosquitoes, which may harbor West Nile virus, without impacting toads.

Amargosa Conservancy
The Amargosa Conservancy is dedicated to the protection of the land, water, and beauty of the Amargosa area in California and Nevada. As part of the Amargosa River ecosystem, the Amargosa Conservancy has been actively involved in toad conservation by participating in meetings of the Amargosa Toad Working Group and regularly contributing to the group. The Conservancy recently donated property along the Amargosa River in Beatty for a pocket park, which serves as a demonstration project in support of the Beatty Trails Project. Soil-Tec and
STORM-OV donated materials and services to construct the park.

STORM-OV
STORM-OV was formed to provide toad conservation through habitat restoration, protection, and community involvement to achieve progress toward goals established in the 2000 Amargosa Toad Conservation Agreement and Strategy. Accomplishments include projects to avoid impacts to the toad such as construction of a culvert system to allow vehicles to cross the river while allowing river flow and toad movement underneath the road; removal of salt cedar and thinning of riparian vegetation to improve conditions for the toad; design of projects to minimize toad predation; and controlled livestock grazing. STORM-OV works with the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and NDOW’s Landowner Incentive Program.

The Nature Conservancy, Southern Nevada Field Office
TNC purchased the 130-acre Torrance Ranch in 1999 and the 524-acre Parker Ranch in 2000 to be managed for the Amargosa toad. TNC has worked with the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and NDOW’s Landowner Incentive Program to implement several habitat restoration projects benefiting the toad. TNC continues to work with partners and volunteers to remove debris from the riverbank to improve habitat for the Amargosa toad and restore habitat on the parcel donated by Ed Ringle.

Bureau of Land Management, Tonopah Field Office
BLM provided funding for salt cedar removal to improve toad habitat and implemented habitat improvement projects, including construction of a fence to control burro use at Bryan Spring and prepared an environmental assessment for restoring five spring systems. BLM continues to provide biologists for annual toad population monitoring surveys.

Natural Resources Conservation Service, Las Vegas Service Center
In 2001, NRCS provided funding to TNC under their Wetlands Reserve Program for improvements to 190 acres of Parker Ranch to benefit the Amargosa toad and other wildlife, the first project of its kind in Nevada. NRCS staff advises the Amargosa Toad Working Group on the benefits of grazing and it can be used as a tool to improve habitat conditions for the toad. In 2012, the NRCS provided funding to Dave Spicer for toad habitat work on his property.

Nevada Natural Heritage Program
The Nevada Natural Heritage Program chairs and organizes the semi-annual Amargosa Toad Working Group meetings and to facilitate many of the administrative functions of the Working Group


Contact Info: Jeannie Stafford, 775-861-6300, jeannie_stafford@fws.gov



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